MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte is allegedly rushing to appoint his own election chief, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said Thursday.
This, after the House of Representatives impeached Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista on Wednesday, just hours after he announced his resignation by the end of the year.
“There is inordinate haste on the part of the Duterte administration to end the tenure of Bautista to enable the President to appoint his chosen chairman of the Commission on Elections,” Lagman said.
Bautista, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III, said he will resign by the end of 2017 amid allegations he amassed around P1 billion in unexplained wealth made public by his estranged wife.
Bautista spearheaded the 2016 national elections which was won by Duterte. His term was supposed to expire in 2022.
Lagman noted that the impeachment of Bautista is moot and academic because of the latter's resignation.
“Such ouster has already been preempted by Bautista’s resignation whose effective date will definitely occur before the termination of the impeachment process both in the House and in the Senate,” Lagman said.
Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque, meanwhile, reiterated that the impeachment was not rendered moot and academic since Bautista's letter to the President on Thursday was only an intention to resign by the end of the year.
"Wala po resignation si Chairman Bautista. What he submitted yesterday (Thursday) was an intention to resign effective December 31 this year," he said, noting that the House with its vote, overturned the decision of the justice committee.
A total of 137 lawmakers voted to impeach Bautista, overturning the House justice committee's dismissal of the complaint against him. Outnumbered were 75 others who voted to junk the ouster complaint. Two others abstained.
The vote overturned the earlier decision of the House Committee on Justice which recommended the dismissal of the complaint because it was found to be insufficient in form due to defective verification.
Bautista on Wednesday said the decision of the House of Representatives to impeach him is "unfortunate," saying the move may no longer be necessary since he will only occupy his post until the end of the year.