House rejects substitute Bautista impeachment raps

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2017 12:00 PM | Updated as of Sep 20 2017 03:27 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) The House Committee on Justice rejected Wednesday a substitute impeachment complaint against Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista.

Voting 27-2, the panel shot down the substitute complaint that seeks to correct the verification errors of the first impeachment complaint filed against Bautista.

The complaint stemmed from allegations by Bautista's estranged wife that he misdeclared some P1 billion in assets.

The complainants also accused Bautista of violating the Data Privacy Act when personal data of 55 million Filipino voters were leaked in 2016, allegedly compromising their security and identities.

Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque, who endorsed the raps, had motioned to admit the substitute complaint as House rules supposedly allow correction of impeachment complaints.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman however said the amended verification was submitted alone and not attached to any complaint.

Admitting the verification, he said, would equate to entertaining a second complaint. This would violate the 1987 Constitution which allows only 1 impeachment proceeding against an official during a 1-year period.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas also called for the disposal of Roque's motion as it was wrongly addressed to the House plenary, not the House justice panel.

With the rejection of the substitute complaint, lawmakers tackled the original impeachment complaint, which they eventually junked for insufficiency in form.

Bautista's term expires in 2022.