House panel formally junks Bautista impeachment complaint

Bea Cupin
House panel formally junks Bautista impeachment complaint
The committee report and resolution will now be forwarded to the House plenary

MANILA, Philippines – The House justice committee on Thursday, October 5, formally junked an impeachment complaint against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista. 

During a committee hearing, members voted 19-2 in favor of the committee report and resolution dismissing the impeachment complaint. The committee earlier found the complaint against Bautista to be insufficient in form because it used the wrong verification form. 

The committee decision was affirmed a second time during the hearing, when a motion to reconsider the report and resolution was raised.

This time, the committee voted 26-2 to approve the resolution junking the Bautista complaint. 

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio and former Negros Occidental representative Jacinto Paras, who are members of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), wanted to have Bautista impeached for allegedly failing to declare properties in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) and alleged ill-gotten wealth. The complaint stemmed mostly from allegations by Bautista’s estranged wife, Patricia

Cebu 2rd District Representative Gwen Garcia, one of the endorsers of the complaint, objected to the committee report and resolution. They also questioned the majority vote needed to junk the complaint.

This was eventually resolved when Committee chairman Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali explained that to junk a complaint, all that is needed is a majority of regular committee members. Because there are 50 such members, at least 26 votes will be needed.

The votes of House leaders or ex-officio members of the committee can be included in the official tally of votes, but they will not count in determining the majority vote. –  

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.