Comelec chief wants to give Duterte time to find his replacement

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2017 06:38 PM

MANILA - Outgoing Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista will step down on Dec. 31 to give President Rodrigo Duterte time to choose his replacement. 

Bautista said this in a resignation letter sent to Duterte, a copy of which Malacañang released Wednesday, hours after the poll chief's announcement. 

In his letter, Bautista said the roughly 10-week period before he steps down is meant to allow the President to “choose my replacement as well as ensure a smooth and orderly transition within the Commission.”

“I wish to thank the Filipino people for the honor and privilege of serving them especially during the May 2016 National and Local Elections, where you were elected as the new Leader of our Republic,” Bautsita told Duterte.

Bautista announced Wednesday that he would resign by the end of the year amid allegations he had amassed around P1 billion in unexplained wealth made public by his estranged wife Patricia.

Hours later, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, becoming the first official under the Duterte administration to be ousted. 

Patricia had claimed her husband omitted P1 billion from his statement of assets liabilities and net worth. 

She also alleged that Bautista 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.

Both Bautista and Divina denied the allegations. 

In his letter addressed to his Comelec "family", Bautista had cited personal reasons and the postponement of the October village elections in deciding to step down. 

The outgoing official is also facing a Senate investigation

Bautista has said he is ready to face any criminal complaint. -- with reports from Jamaine Punzalan and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News