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Senators welcome Bautista's resignation as 'right move'

MANILA, Philippines – Senators welcomed the announcement of Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista that he would resign by the end of the year, saying it was the “right” and “decent” thing to do following his publicized spat with his wife.

Senate Minority Franklin Drilon and Senator Panfilo Lacson said it was high time for Bautista to focus on his personal problems.

Bautista earlier sued his wife, Patricia, for robbery and extortion, after the latter accused him of amassing ill-gotten wealth.

“It is the best thing that he can do so that after he quits office, he can take care of his problems. No one can say that he’s using the power of his office to influence the outcome of the case,” Drilon told reporters, referring to the case filed by Patricia Bautista against the Comelec chief.

Drilon said Bautista's resignation would no longer be viewed as a way to avoid impeachment because the House of Representatives already dismissed the complaint.

“I think that was the right move. Anyway, he is no longer facing an impeachment complaint and therefore, it cannot be said that he is avoiding impeachment,” he said.

Lacson said Bautista's resignation was the “decent thing” to do.

“That is the decent thing to do given the situation he’s in. Also he can focus on his personal and domestic problem instead of allowing the same to get in the way of his offcial duties as Comelec chair,” Lacson said in a text message.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, for his part, said Bautista’s resignation will ease the workload of both chambers of Congress

“Ang reading ko, ang sinabi sa sulat is my decision to resign by the end of the year, therefore di pa siya nag-reresign. Kung talagang magreresign siya, makakabawas sa trabaho sa Kongreso at Senado,” Sotto said.

(My reading is that he said in the letter that his decision is to resign by the end of the year, therefore he is not yet officially resigned. If he is indeed resigning, it will lessen the work of the House of Representatives and the Senate.)

But Senate banks, financial institutions, and currencies committee chair Francis Escudero said the investigation into Bautista’s bank accounts will still continue, following the dismissal of impeachment complaint against him.

"As soon as the House dismisses the impeachment complaint formally, yes I will,” Escudero said, when asked about the investigation.

Bautista tendered his resignation nearly a week after the House justice committee, by a vote of 19-2, formally junked an impeachment complaint against him.

Bautista's term was supposed to expire on February 2, 2022. This means Bautista is cutting his term by at least 4 years.

Earlier, all 6 Comelec commissioners pushed Bautista to either take a leave or resign, as they said Bautista "can no longer effectively lead the Commission." – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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