Comelec chief gave 'personal reasons' for resignation to Duterte

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2017 04:17 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2017 07:25 AM

Outgoing elections chief Andres Bautista said Wednesday that he has informed President Rodrigo Duterte of his "personal reasons" why he must step down as Commission on Elections chairman by the end of the year. 

"Ang aking ibinigay na rason ay personal reasons. Siguro hindi naman kaila sa inyo kung ano iyung mga hamon na kinaharap ko sa aking personal na buhay kung kaya't minarapat ko na tama na ang panahong ito para nga ihayag ang aking intensyon na mag-resign," Bautista told reporters. 
(I gave personal reasons. Perhaps the challenges I faced in my personal life were no secret to you. I've decided this is the right time to announce my intention to resign.) 

"Ayoko rin kasing iyung personal na problema is nakakaapekto sa isang institusyon tulad ng Comelec, at lalong-lalo na nga sa isang halalan," he added. 

(I don't want a personal problem to affect an institution like Comelec, especially an election.)

Bautista's estranged wife Patricia earlier alleged that her husband failed to declare some P1 billion in unexplained wealth in 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.

Bautista and Divina denied any wrongdoing.

An impeachment complaint against Bautista that was largely based on his wife's claims was also dismissed by the House justice committee in September. 

Bautista said his resignation would give Duterte enough time to appoint his successor and ensure a "smooth and orderly transition" ahead of the May 2018 barangay and SK elections. 

Asked what advice he would give to his successor, he said: "You have to have patience. I think Comelec is more a management than a quasi-judicial body. You really need people who know how to manage resources, logistics, mga supply chain, warehouses." 

Malacanang, for its part, respects Bautista's resignation effective December 31, 2017. 

"We respect the decision of Chairman Andy Bautista. We wish him well," Presidential Communications Secretary said in a statement.