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Impeachment raps filed vs Bautista

By: Ben Rosario

An impeachment complaint was filed yesterday against embattled Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista and was quickly endorsed by House officials.

In a 23-page complaint, former Rep. Jacinto Paras of Negros Oriental and law practitioner Ferdinand Topacio accused Bautista of committing irregularities related to the holding of the 2016 national elections, ineptitude in addressing a hacking attack of the Comelec website and failure to truthfully disclose his networth.

The complainants also charged Bautista of receiving “referral fees” from the 2016 election technology provider Smartmatic.

Endorsed by Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia; Asst. Minority Leader and Kabayan Partylist Rep. Harry Roque and Rep.Abraham Tolentino (LP, Cavite), the impeachment complaint is expected to be transmitted to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to launch the bid to oust Bautista.

Earlier, Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez predicted that Bautista will most likely resign than face impeachment, which appeared to be backed with solid evidence.

Two other impeachment complaints previously filed by separate sets of complainants against Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno have not been touched at the office of Secretary General Cesar Pareja for lack of endorser.

Lawyer Manuelito Luna, legal counsel of the complainants, said Bautista is being charged with betrayal of public trust, bribery and culpable violation of the Constitution which are three constitutional grounds for impeachment.

The filing of the complaint clearly stemmed from the on-going domestic and legal squabble between Bautista and his estranged wife, Patricia, who accused him of concealing at least R1 billion in unexplained wealth.

Paras, a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption that filed impeachment complaint against Sereno, admitted that he has yet to get in touch with Mrs. Bautista to stand as witness during the impeachment hearings.

The former congressman said the Comelec chief is being accused of culpable violation to the Constitution for “failing to disclose in his statement the truth about his assets and liabilities and networth (SALN) as required bythe Constitution

Both Paras and Topacio are confident that the SALN controversy represent a strong argument that would support Bautistas removal from office.