Comelec chief Bautista resigns

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2017 10:43 AM | Updated as of Oct 11 2017 11:10 AM

Comelec chief Bautista resigns 1
COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED) - Election chief Andres Bautista announced Wednesday that he will resign by the end of 2017 amid allegations he amassed around P1 billion in unexplained wealth made public by his estranged wife. 

In a letter addressed to his Commission on Elections "family," Bautista cited personal reasons and the postponement of the October village elections. 

"After much thought and prayer, I believe that this is the right time for me to step down given the postponement of the Barangay and SK elections," read the letter Bautista posted on Twitter. 

"It was not an easy decision. But my family, especially children, need me now more than ever." 

Bautista's estranged wife, Patricia, had claimed her husband omitted P1 billion from his statement of assets liabilities and net worth. 

Bautista also allegedly received commissions for referring companies such as Smartmatic, which supplied the vote counting machines in the previous elections, to a law firm owned by his close friend, lawyer Nilo Divina.

An impeachment case based on Patricia's allegation was dismissed by the House justice committee for "insufficiency in form."

Bautista and Divina have denied any wrongdoing
In his letter, Bautista maintained that the 2016 election was "the best managed and most credible in our electoral history." 

He also thanked his Comelec family for sticking with him "amid the hurtful, baseless and malicious accusations hurled against me."
Bautista was appointed Comelec chairman by former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III in 2015. Bautista's term was supposed to expire in 2022.

With Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News