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Impeach raps vs Bautista junked

By ELLSON QUISMORIO • LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO

As expected, the House Committee on Justice chaired by Oriental Mindoro 2nd Rep. Reynaldo Umali dismissed yesterday the impeachment complaint filed against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andy Bautista.

COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista  smiles during a press conference  after the inspeection printed ballots that will be used for the Barangay and SK election, after walk through at the National Printing Office in QUezon City, Septemebr 20, 2017. A total of 26,189,091 out of 43,743,958 ballots for barangay elections are printed and 1,761,764 out of 15,804,452 ballots printed for the SK elections. (Mark Balmores)

COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista smiles during a press conference after the inspeection printed ballots that will be used for the Barangay and SK election, after walk through at the National Printing Office in QUezon City, Septemebr 20, 2017. A total of 26,189,091 out of 43,743,958 ballots for barangay elections are printed and 1,761,764 out of 15,804,452 ballots printed for the SK elections. (Mark Balmores)

This, after the complaint lodged by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio against the poll chief failed to hurdle the initial requirement of sufficiency in form during a Justice panel hearing.

Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu’s 3rd district, one of the three endorsers of the ouster rap, moved to have the complaint declared sufficient in form. The move was defeated via a vote of 2-26.

Garcia and a fellow endorser in Kabayan Party-List Rep. Harry Roque were the only two to enter an affirmative vote.

The third endorser, Cavite 7th district Rep. Abraham Tolentino, wasn’t a Justice Committee member and thus couldn’t vote.

“The insufficiency in form renders this complaint dismissed,” Umali said.

Bautista welcomed the dismissal of the impeachment complaint against him and thanked the Committee and the House leadership for “upholding the rule of law” and for their “objectivity and fairness.”

“This proves to be a significant step in clearing my name after the malicious accusations hurled against me,” said Bautista.

“As I have always maintained, the allegations are fabricated and baseless,” he added.

With the dismissal of the impeachment complaint, Bautista said it is business as usual at the Comelec.

“We, at the Comelec, will continue to perform our mandate in respect of the credible conduct of Philippine elections,” he said.

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