Embattled Comelec chief would rather resign than face impeachment, says Palace legal counsel
BELEAGUERED Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista will resign if he is impeached by the House of Representatives.
Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo made this fearless forecast yesterday.
"The Comelec chair will resign," Panelo said. He said Bautista will not "subject himself to an impeachment and a negative public scrutiny that will affect his family."
"It is rather unproductive," he added.
Bautista has said that he is willing to resign if the controversy will affect the Comelec.
Former Negros Oriental representative Jacinto Paras said that he will file an impeachment complaint against Bautista at the House of Representatives next week.
Paras said the impeachment complaint will be based on the allegations of Bautista's wife, Patricia.
If Bautista is impeached by the House, the case will be brought to the Senate for an impeachment trial.
Cibac party-list Representative Sherwin Tugna said that Bautista should resign if the House of Representatives approves the impeachment complaint that would be filed against him.
"Kung nakapag-file ng impeachment complaint at ito ay parang may basehan, baka doon pa lamang i-consider, para sa akin, doon pa lang i-consider na ni Chairman Andy Bautista [na mag-resign]," Tugna said.
He added: "Hindi dahil siya ay guilty o hindi. Kundi para lamang hindi na madamay pa ang Commission on Elections."
Reports earlier said that Marcos loyalist Oliver Lozano has filed an impeachment complaint against Bautista, but it was submitted by the lawyer at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Tugna said the Office of the Ombudsman is "the wrong forum" in filing an impeachment complaint.
He explained that the Constitution specifically states that an impeachment complaint can only be filed at the House of Representatives.
Patricia has submitted an affidavit at the National Bureau of Investigation detailing alleged real estate properties and bank accounts of the Comelec chief.
She said that the properties and amount of money in the bank accounts were not declared by Bautista in his 2016 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth.
The Comelec chief has denied his wife's allegations, including his alleged commissions from automated poll provider Smartmatic and the ghost employees at the Presidential Commission on Good Governments when he was its chairman.