Comelec employees back Bautista amid quit calls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 26 2017 12:47 AM

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista answers questions as he emerges from the commission's en Banc meeting in Manila on Tuesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista should be given a chance to answer allegations of amassing P1 billion in undeclared assets, a union of the agency employees said Friday, after 6 commissioners called for the poll chief's resignation. 

In a statement, members of the Comelec-Employees' Union (EU) said they respect the statement of the commissioners, but "maintain our position that Chairman Bautista should be given a fair opportunity to defend himself in the proper forum - keeping in mind the best interests of his family, the Commission and the country." 

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. 

An impeachment case citing Patricia's allegations was filed against Bautista earlier this week. 

Six Comelec commissioners later said Bautista "could no longer effectively lead" and that it was time for him to resign.

Comelec-EU said they will not prevent their members from joining support rallies for Bautista. The union however said they will not mount similar activities so they could focus instead on preparations for the village and youth council elections on October. 

"The unfortunate episode currently being faced by the Commission will not cause divisiveness among the employees as we continue to prepare for the conduct of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections," the union said. 

Bautista has denied the allegations against him and accused his wife of being part of a "demolition job." 

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