Comelec chair ready to face impeachment complaint

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andy Bautista on Thursday said he is ready to face the impeachment complaint filed against him.

Read: Impeachment complaint filed against Comelec chairman

Speaking to reporters before the House committee hearing on the Comelec's proposed 2018 budget, Bautista said he will respond to the allegations at the right venue.

 

He also said has not read the impeachment complaint because he does not have a copy of it yet. In response to calls for him to resign or take a leave of absence, Bautista said he is exploring all options.

Read: Comelec commissioner urges embattled Andy Bautista to take a leave

"Iyon ang ating mga tinitimbang, kung ano ang susunod na hakbang," he said. "Siyempre gusto natin protektahan iyong mga interest unang-una ng aking pamilya, interest din ng Comelec. Kung kaya't iyan ang ating piangaaralan, pinagiisipan at pinagdarasal."

[Translation: We are weighing what the next step would be. Of course, we want to protect the interests of my family, first of all, as well as the interests of the Comelec. That is what we are studying, thinking about and praying for.]

In the impeachment complaint, filed by former Negros Occidental Rep. Jacinto Paras, Bautista is accused of failing to address the voter data leak on March 2016, tweaking the server script in the 2016 Philippine automated polls and failing to disclose all his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

Under Article 11, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, members of constitutional commissions like Comelec may only be removed through impeachment on the grounds of culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of public trust.

Bautista has come under fire after his wife, Patricia, claimed the poll chief has unexplained wealth consisting of billions of pesos in bank accounts and properties.

Read: COMELEC chair accused of unexplained wealth by estranged wife

Bautista also reportedly received commissions from Divina Law, the legal counsel of poll technology provider Smartmatic, which led to speculation on the integrity of the 2016 elections.

Read: Solon: Bautista's 'receipt of fee for Smartmatic referral' casts doubt on 2016 polls

Bautista told CNN Philippines on Aug. 7 that the accusations were a form of blackmail from his estranged wife.

Read: COMELEC Chair cries blackmail and extortion by his estranged wife; ready to face probe

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Presidential Commission on Good Governance, which Bautista headed from 2010 to 2015, have launched investigations into Bautista's allegedly anomalous deals.

Read: BIR forms special team to probe Comelec chair, wife