MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista was surprised over the results of the voting at the House of Representatives, Wednesday, where the majority of lamwakers voted to impeach him.
In a vote of 137 – 75 – 2, the impeachment complaint against the poll chief passed in the Lower House of Congress and is now being forwarded to the Senate, which will stand as the impeachment court.
“We know that the House Committee on Justice dismissed the impeachment complaint. Not just once but twice. That’s why when they voted in the plenary… I never anticipated the result. But I respect their opinion,” Bautista said.
Bautista, however, insists that he upholds his decision to remain as the poll chief until December.
It can be recalled that before the voting on the impeachment complaint in the plenary, Bautista announced his resignation effective on the first day of January next year.
He said until the President issued a decision on the matter, and until Mr. Duterte finds a replacement, his work in the commission continues.
“I think it is disrespect to the President. We should give the President the time to answer my letter. If he thinks I must be replaced immediately, I am okay with that,” Bautista said.
But Bautista said before he submitted his resignation letter to the President, he met first with executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last Tuesday.
He said they agreed that he will leave his position on the 31st of December to give the President the time to find a replacement.
“In fact, he even asked me if I can recommend someone to replace me. And I asked him if they have already someone in mind, he said none,” Bautista said.
The poll chief said he is now preparing to face the impeachment court as well as the new case his wife plans to file against him. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue
Impeachment complaint vs. 7 SC magistrates ‘insufficient in substance’ – HOR
The House Committee on Justice
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The House Committee on Justice ruled on Tuesday (September 11) that the impeachment complaint filed against the seven magistrates of the Supreme Court (SC) is insufficient in substance.
The House committee members voted 23-1 to drop the complaint filed by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman against SC Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Francis Jardaleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes, Alexander Gersmundo and now Chief Justice Teresita De Castro.
During the hearing, Lagman insisted that the magistrates committed an impeachable offense for not inhibiting from the proceedings of the quo warranto petition filed against former CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno despite them being vocal of their grudges against her, and also for bypassing Congressional power to impeach an impeachable official.
“The Supreme Court cannot be supreme in its errors, particularly in the malicious decision. There is always a way in getting account and that is through impeachment,” Lagman argued.
On the other hand, several lawmakers opposed Lagman’s argument citing that the magistrates acted only as mandated by their judicial duties.
“The justices of the Supreme Court were duty bound to decide on the petition. Their fidelity of to their judicial duty is not an impeachable offense simply because none disagreed with their decision,” said Angkla Party-list Rep. Jess Manalo.
Cavite representative Strike Revilla said there is no reason to punish the magistrates while Rep. Henry Oamenal of Misamis Occidental said: “If the complaint would succeed then there would be no quorum in the Supreme Court.”
But according to House rules, the House Committee’s decision can still be contested and reversed if the complaint obtains 1/3 of the votes in the Lower House. – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo
House finds impeachment complaints vs. 7 SC magistrates ‘sufficient in form’
House Committee on Justice unanimously approve sufficiency of impeachment raps against seven SC justices
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Twenty-one members of the House Committee on Justice, chaired by Representative Doy Leachon agreed that the impeachment complaint against the seven magistrates of the Supreme Court (SC) is sufficient in form.
The respondents involve SC Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Francis Jardaleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes, Alexander Gesmundo and now Chief Justice Teresita de Castro.
The Committee said the filing of the case has gone through the proper procedure. The complaint was verified by the House Secretary General and it was signed and sworn in by the complainants Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, Magdalo Party List Representative Gary Alejano and Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat.
The grounds the Court stated against the seven magistrates include culpable violation of the Constitution for surpassing the authority of Congress to oust an impeachable official specifically referring to the case of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Meanwhile, a separate case of betrayal of public trust was filed against Associates Justices Peralta, Bersamin, Tijam, Jardeleza and Chief Justice De Castro for their alleged refusal to inhibit from voting in favor of the quo warranto petition against Sereno. This, despite them being vocal about their grudges against the former chief justice during the impeachment proceedings.
“We do not want to condone the knowing rendition of a malicious and unjust judgment by the 7 respondent justices which are offensive to the constitution and violative in a requisite impartiality and judiciousness of neutral magistrates,” said Lagman.
The Committee decided to continue the probe on September 11 when they will discuss if the complaints are sufficient in substance. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)
Senate orders arrest of ex-poll chief Andres Bautista over hidden wealth
FILE PHOTO – Ex-poll chief Andres Bautista
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies decides to cite in contempt former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista.
“Directing that the chairman be arrested and deliver to the Senate if and when he arrives,” said the committee’s chair Sen. Francis Escudero.
The committee also asked the Senate president to issue a warrant of arrest against the former poll chief after he failed to attend for the third time the Senate’s hearing on his alleged ill-gotten wealth.
“Maliwanag na iniiwasan niya ang proseso ng pagdinig (It’s clear that he is avoiding the process of the hearing),” said Escudero.
In a letter he sent to the Senate, Bautista explained that he did not receive any subpoena from the Senate and that he learned of the invitation only from the media.
Bautista claimed he is currently abroad and is suffering various health concerns due to hypertension.
However, the Senate committee doubts Bautista’s explanation. Based on the records of the Bureau of Immigration gathered by the committee, Bautista left the country on October 28, 2017, and returned on November 1st of the same year.
Escudero dared Bautista to sign a waiver that would allow the committee to examine his bank accounts.
Bautista’s wife also calls on the former poll chief to face and answer all the issues.
“You know out of respect for the Senate please appear because that the least you can do, answer the questions that are people are asking,” said Patricia Bautista, and estranged wife of ex-poll chief.
Based on the allegation of Mrs. Patricia Bautista, the former Comelec chief has 35 accounts in the Luzon Development Bank, reaching a total amount of 329-million pesos. The amount is contrary to his declared assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN). — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue