Comelec commissioners tell Bautista: It's time to resign

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2017 06:15 PM | Updated as of Aug 24 2017 08:51 PM

The statement of the six commissioners of the Commission on Elections urging poll chief Andres Bautista to take a leave of absence or resign amid investigations into his alleged unexplained wealth. Photo courtesy of Henry Atuelan, DZMM

The statement of the six commissioners of the Commission on Elections urging poll chief Andres Bautista to take a leave of absence or resign amid investigations into his alleged unexplained wealth. Photo courtesy of Henry Atuelan, DZMM

Six commissioners of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said poll chief Andres Bautista "could no longer effectively lead" and that it was time for him to resign amid investigations into his alleged unexplained wealth.

In a statement, Comelec commissioners Rowena Guanzon, Christian Robert Lim, Al Parreño, Luie Tito Guia, Arthur Lim, and Sheriff Abas said the time has come for Bautista “to let go” of the agency.

“Unfortunately Chairman Bautista has not made good on his promise that he would inform us soonest his course of action of either taking a leave of absence or resignation. With all due respect, it is our consensus that Chairman Bautista could no longer effectively lead the commission. The time for him to let go has come,” the statement read.

Bautista said the commissioners will be the first to know when he decides whether to take a leave or quit his post.

"As I have publicly stated, these are options that I have been considering and praying over. When I decide, they will be the first to know," Bautista said in a statement.

In a press briefing, Arthur Lim said the Comelec was at stake and "choices will have to be made."

"I hope our good chair will understand. Walang personalan on any part of us. Iniisip lang namin ang kapakanan ng Comelec. Ang mga bagay na dapat matutukan ng isang chairman not weighed down by the magnitude of problems he is currently facing," he said.

"It only proves you cannot be in two places at the same time, you cannot serve two masters at the same time. Do what is right, never mind other considerations. Family comes first, that’s right," he added.

Lim added that their statement does not necessarily mean they believe the allegations against Bautista.

"Hindi ibig sabihin na naniniwala kami sa paratang o bintang laban kay Chairman. He is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise," he said.

Robert Lim meanwhile said the commission has to move forward.

"He's an impeachable officer, he can only be removed by impeachment. What we're saying is, we want to move in terms of preparation of the elections... we want to move forward. Right now, we have no clear direction," he said.

Guanzon, who earlier advised Bautista to take a leave of absence, also urged the embattled poll chief to just go.

"Yes, I think he should resign. For his own sake and the sake of the Commission on Elections so that he can prepare fully for his defense," she said.

"Since the first day that I advised him to file a leave, he failed to attend about two en banc meetings aside from yesterday’s budget review. And of course because of his problems and all these investigations, he cannot really, does not really, give 100 percent of his time to the Comelec," she added.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue, National Bureau of Investigation and the Presidential Commission on Good Government are set to probe Bautista's alleged P1-billion unexplained wealth.

Bautista's estranged wife Patricia earlier claimed she discovered bank and real property documents, and several passbooks under her husband's name that were not included in his statement of assets liabilities and net worth.

The Comelec chief has denied the charge and accused his wife of having an affair and attempting to extort a P620 million settlement.