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Comelec chair welcomes junking of impeachment complaint

Comelec chair welcomes junking of impeachment complaint”

The House Committee on Justice on Wednesday junked the impeachment complaint against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres D. Bautista due to insufficiency in form. Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro then delivered an impassioned objection to his colleague, stressing that it has no legal basis.

"With the dismissal of the complaint, it is business as usual at the Commission on Elections (Comelec)".

If the SC rules in the complainant's favor, the decision may likely cause the revival of one of two impeachment complaints against SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno that was likewise rejected by the House panel for insufficiency in form. He did not entertain Castro's move as the impeachment complaint is still up for voting at that time.

He stressed that the allegations against him by his estranged wife, Patricia, "are fabricated and baseless".

Bautista said that with the impeachment complaint being junked, his work continues at the Comelec.

Last week, the second impeachment against Chief Justice Ma.

Pampanga representative Juan Bondoc, Albay representative Edcel Lagman, Misamis Occidental representative Henry Oaminal, Kabayan representative Ron Salo, Agusan del Norte representative Lawrence Fortun and Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte representative Rodolfo Farinas objected to Roque's motion.

But Roque said the substitution is not prohibited under the rule of the lower chamber.

"There is no specific rule granting any party the right to amend the verification or the complaint".

Patricia's lawyer Lorna Kapunan lamented the junking of the impeachment rap on a technicality. If you dismiss a complaint because of wrongful verification, what is the message? "This is the proof to that", she said.

The anti-corruption advocacy group VACC said the committee vote was a "failure of the rule of law".

The complainants also said Bautista also neglected his duties and responsibilities as head of the agency, particularly collecting and further processing of personal data, which led to unnecessary exposure of personal and sensitive information of millions of Filipinos, and obstructed justice when he cleared Smartmatic and Comelec information-technology specialists of any wrongdoing for the so-called script tweak during the consolidation/canvassing of results in the May 2016 elections, among others.

"The refusal of the Committee on justice to allow amendment or substitution of the verification, which is a mere formality, should not be a reason to thwart substantial justice".

In that substitute verification, the two said that the allegations against Bautista are "true and correct of [their] own knowledge or based on authentic records", according to a release from Roque's office.



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