Citizen Bautista to face charges – wife's camp

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 24) — The resignation of Commissioner Andres Bautista from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) removes his immunity and paves the way for the filing of charges against him.

"He now cannot hide under the immunity of his office. He will be sued at the proper time based on the evidence and the report of the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) as private citizen Andy Bautista," Lorna Kapunan, lawyer of Bautista's estranged wife Patricia, told lawmakers on Tuesday.

That's right after the House Justice Committee terminated impeachment proceedings against Bautista after declaring the case "moot and academic."

"It has ended well for the House of Representatives and also for the Senate because this will really relieve us of the many things we had to do," House Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali said.

He thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for accepting on Monday Bautista's resignation "effective immediately." Bautista had submitted a resignation letter effective by the end of this year.

"There was an offer, there was an acceptance effective immediately. This meeting of the minds rendered this issue finished," Umali said.

The Justice Committee was supposed to discuss the articles of impeachment on Tuesday after the House impeached Bautista on Oct. 11. The case was supposed to go on trial in the Senate.

'Bautista could have been impeached'

Kapunan requested the committee to accept a "proffer of evidence" or documents to prove accusations against Bautista. Committee members denied this.

"Had the articles of impeachment proceeded and had this been given substance through a full-blown impeachment proceedings in the House, complainant Patricia Bautista would have been able to prove that all the bank accounts stated therein are not manufactured," Kapunan said.

"There would be no doubt that Mr. Andy Bautista would have been impeached as Comelec Chairman," she added.

Patricia is accusing her estranged husband of amassing ill-gotten wealth and having around P1 billion in his bank accounts.