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Poll chief steps down

By: Leslie Ann G. Aquino and Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista is resigning from his post by the end of the year.

In a statement yesterday, Bautista said now is the right time to step down given the recent postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections this month to May next year. He said the decision was not an easy one but his family needs him now more than ever.

“This was not an easy decision. But my family, especially my children, need me now more than ever,” Bautista said in the statement on his Facebook account.

“I believe I have served our Commission well and the Filipino people to the best of my ability, but only with your faithful help and constant support,” Bautista added.

Bautista cited the May 2016 automated national and local Elections as a testament that he has served the Comelec well.

“The May 2016 automated national and local elections is a testament to our collective sacrifices and teamwork, as it was hailed by independent local and foreign observers as the best managed and most credible in our electoral history,” he said.

He thanked his Comelec family for the love, prayers, and support they have shown him especially during the most challenging times.

The poll chief has been accused by his estranged wife Patricia of having unexplained wealth amounting to nearly P1 billion which include several bank accounts, properties, and other assets not declared in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth. He has denied the charges.

“Amid the hurtful, baseless, and malicious accusations hurled against me, most of you never left my side,” Chairman Bautista said. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you, my Comelec family, it has been a joy and privilege to work for, and serve with you,” he added.

The poll chief said he will cherish all of their shared memories.

Bautista’s urged the Comelec to continue to perform the mandate entrusted to the Commission, protect the integrity of our elections, and faithfully serve the interests of Filipino people.

Malacañang said it respects the decision of Bautista to step down from office.

“We respect the decision of Chairman Andy Bautista. We wish him well,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that he expected Bautista’s resignation and described it as the right and honorable decision.

“The resignation is an honorable exit given the furor that erupted following the rupture of the marital bond,” Panelo said.