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House impeaches Comelec chair

By: Ben R. Rosario

The House of Representatives yesterday voted to impeach Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista who announced earlier in the day that he is bowing out of office.

Voting 75 in the affirmative and 137 in the negative, the House junked the report and resolution of the Committee on Justice recommending the dismissal of the impeachment complaint for insufficiency in form.

Two, one of them independent Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco, abstained from the voting.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the House requires 98 votes, representing one-third of the total 293 membership of the chamber, to impeach a sitting impeachable official.

By rejecting House Resolution 1397 under Committee Report 429, the House agreed to draft the impeachment complaint filed by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio into the articles of impeachment.

“I am directing the Committee on Justice to prepare the articles of impeachment for filing before the Senate,” stated presiding officer and Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu in declaring the vote to impeach Bautista.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez led the 137 no voters when he stood up to declare that the allegations against Bautista “are serious.”