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Bautista faces solons today

Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista may be asked questions about his alleged P1-billion ill-gotten wealth when he faces congressmen today on the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections this year.

Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said while his panel would focus on tackling the five pending bills and one resolution calling for the postponement of the polls in October, its members will not be hampered from asking Bautista, especially if it involves matters of public interest.

“As chairman of the committee, my focus is the postponement and the holdover of the barangay officials. But, we cannot stop our colleagues from asking questions because this involves 2016 elections,” Tugna said.

“And this is a matter of public interest because the chairman occupies a position in government which is very essential to our democracy and the main base of our democracy which is election of our leaders. And the allegation is that there are ill-gotten wealth that was not included in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth,” Tugna added.

He said that they do not have strict rules of procedures that prevent them from asking questions beyond their scheduled agenda.

“They do not ask questions in their own personal capacity. They are asking in behalf of their constituents, these are the people,” Tugna said.

Tugna, a lawyer, said once an impeachment complaint is filed against Bautista, the Comelec chairman may consider taking a leave of absence so that the integrity of the poll agency as an institution will not be dragged.

Marcos loyalist Atty. Oliver Lozano has filed an impeachment complaint against Bautista before the Ombudsman.

However, Tugna said Lozano filed the complaint in the wrong forum.

“So yan ang pagkakasampa sa Office of the Ombudsman, ano po yan…wrong forum po yan. Kumbaga ho ay maling pinto yong kinatok o maling lugar yong pinuntahan para makapag file ng impeachment complaint,” Tugna said.

He said the Constitution provides that the House of Representatives has the sole jurisdiction to try impeachment cases. (Charissa L. Atienza)

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