Comelec Chief refuses to resign immediately despite impeachment

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andy Bautista will not speed up his resignation despite the Congress' vote to impeach him.

In the resignation letter he gave to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Bautista intends to resign by end of 2017 to give Comelec time to adjust and to give President Rodrigo Duterte leeway to find his replacement.

"Sabi ko sana walang disruption sa Comelec kaya dapat bigyan ng time si Presidente to choose a replacement," he told CNN Philippines on Thursday.

[Translation: I said as long as there is no disruption in the Comelec, which was why I had to give the President time to find a replacement.]

The embattled poll body chief resigned because he wanted to focus on his family amid allegations of negligence and betrayal of public trust hurled against him.

Comelec chairman to resign by yearend  

Committee Chairman Rey Umali on Wednesday said things would have been different if Bautista resigned immediately instead of by the end of the year. On the same day Bautista publicly announced his resignation, the House of Representatives, voting 137-75, overturned its Justice Committee's recommendation that dismissed the impeachment complaint against him.

Bautista said he is ready to leave his post as long as everything is in order in Comelec.

"Kung makahanap sila o kung gusto nila mas agahan yung aking pagbibitiw, walang problema basta lang maayos ang transition," he said.

[Translation: If they can find a replacement or they want me to resign earlier, I will, as long as as there is transition.]

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella assured Bautista of a smooth transition in the Comelec.

"Congress shall decide on what to do with this impeachment, in view of his resignation. We acknowledge the services of the chairman and after his successor is named, we look forward to a smooth transition and preparations for a barangay and SK elections next year, and midterm polls, and possible BBL and Charter Change plebiscites," he said in a regular media briefing.

Lorna Kapunan, the lawyer of Bautista's estranged wife Patricia, said the poll body chief should be "man enough to face charges against him."

Patricia accused Bautista of "misleading and corrupt practices while in office." He has denied the allegations, describing her accusation that he has amassed unexplained wealth as blackmail and an attempt to squeeze money out of him.