MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Wednesday, October 11, voted to impeach Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista, overturning a justice committee resolution that earlier dismissed the complaint against him.
Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia, during session, moved to reject the committee’s resolution, arguing that the complaint must be tackled before the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.
Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative Robert Ace Barbers agreed with Garcia’s motion.
137 voted to reject the committee resolution, 75 to adopt the resolution, while two abstained.
The vote was made a day before Congress was to adjourn session. Session will resume on November 13.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez himself rejected the adoption of the resolution, saying he believes the allegations against Bautista were “serious.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Bautista announced that he would step down from his post by December 31, 2017. (LOOK: What Comelec’s Bautista told Duterte in his resignation letter)
The committee on justice, which is tasked to tackle verified complaints against impeachable officials, earlier junked the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio and former Negros Occidental congressman Jacinto Paras because it was insufficient in form.
However, Kabayan Representative Harry Roque, during a press conference, argued that the impeachment must still push through since, until Bautista resigns on December 31, the Comelec chairman may still sign contracts related to the 2019 elections.
Although the committee affirmed its decision, a one-third vote from the House can overturn the committee resolution. Now that the resolution is dismissed, the justice committee will need to prepare the articles of impeachment. (READ: FAST FACTS: How does impeachment work?) – Rappler.com