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Bautista weighing options

By CHARISSA M. LUCI-ATIENZA

Amid calls for him to resign or take a leave of absence, embattled Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista said he is studying and considering all options to protect not only the interest of his family but also the poll body as an institution.

“Lahat ng options naman kinoconsider natin,” Bautista told reporters.

“Tinitimbang kung ano ang susunod na hakbang at siyempre kailangan protektahan ang mga interes, unang una na ng aking pamilya, interes din ng Comelec, ‘yan ang aking pinag-aaralan,” he said.

On the impeachment complaint filed against him, Bautista said he is ready to face the charges “at the proper time and at the proper forum.”

On Wednesday, a 23-page impeachment complaint was filed against him over allegations of P1-billion ill-gotten wealth, irregularities related to the 2016 national elections, and ineptitude in addressing a hacking attack on the Comelec website.

“Sabi ko nga ‘yan ay ipapaliwanag sa tamang panahon at tamang lugar,” Bautista said.

He responded affirmatively when asked if he is ready to face the impeachment. “Yes, I am ready,” he said.

Bautista, who was compelled to present and defend the Comelec’s proposed P16.15 billion budget for 2018 yesterday, said he has yet to read the impeachment complaint against him filed by former Rep. Jacinto Paras of Negros Oriental and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, Assistant Minority Leader and Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino has already endorsed the impeachment complaint filed against Bautista.

Jacinto and Topacio accused Bautista of betraying public trust, bribery and culpable violation of the Constitution, which are three grounds for impeachment.

The filing of the ouster complaint was made after Bautista’s wife, Patricia claimed that the poll chief has unexplained wealth close to P1 billion, which is not included in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

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