Lagman: Drafting of articles of impeachment vs Bautista 'premature'

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Election chief Andres Bautista announced Wednesday that he will resign by the end of 2017 amid allegations he amassed around PHP1 billion (US$19 million) in unexplained wealth made public by his estranged wife.

President Duterte's allies voted 75 against 137 with two abstentions to reverse the decision of the House justice committee to dismiss the impeachment complaint filed by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

On Wednesday morning, Bautista said in his social media accounts he would resign by the end of the year.

Bautista responded to the House vote soon after the results came out.

"I suspected it when I heard that the Speaker will vote in the negative so I was already expecting that", he said.

He noted that resigning as head of the poll body is already timely since the October 23 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls has been moved to May 2018.

"This was not an easy decision. But my family, especially children, need me now more than ever".

He and Patricia have four children. "We have yet to see his resignation letter, but that is what he said", Pimentel said.

Sarmiento added that Bautista would also have the time for his family.

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"I want to give him ample time to find my replacement".

"The Dec. 31 date is not cast in stone...it aims to give the President enough time to make the transition (for my resignation) smooth and orderly", Bautista said during an interview. "We will stop the proceedings since there is no reason to proceed", the Senate President said, but added: "We will proceed with the preparations for convening the Senate as an impeachment court because "we have no right to assume".

"There is no ex-deal". The House needs a one-third vote of its members to impeach an official - in this case, 98.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, the Congress should be the one to decide on the fate of Bautista.

Paras did not show the documents, since he said they would be officially submitted and attested to by the PCGG during the impeachment trial, if need be.

Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia, who endorsed the complaint against Bautista along with Harry Roque (PL, Kabayan) and Abraham Tolentino (PDP-Laban, Cavite), said the complaint must be heard and tried at the Senate "perhaps also in order for Chairman Bautista to be heard".

Senator Panfilo Lacson said that Bautista's resignation is prospective and not yet in effect and once the impeachment complaint is transmitted to the Senate and his resignation is not yet in effect, the Senate has no option but to proceed with the trial of the Comelec Chief.

He cited Section 11 of Rule III of the House Rules on Impeachment, which stated that the decision of the House to overturn the committee report presupposes that the recommendation is based on the insufficiency of the complaint, lack of sufficient grounds or absence of probable cause.

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