Duterte wouldn't have let allies junk Bautista impeach rap: Roque

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2017 10:22 PM | Updated as of Oct 17 2017 02:21 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte would not have allowed his super-majority in the House of Representatives to dismiss an impeachment complaint accusing Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista of graft and corruption, a lawmaker said Monday.

House Deputy Minority Leader Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque, who endorsed the complaint, said he believes Duterte "may intervene and may ask his allies to vote otherwise," but he does not have personal knowledge if the President did so.

"I felt that the President was so serious about his anti-corruption drive that I couldn’t accept or even imagine Congress rejecting a complaint based substantially that he committed serious acts of graft and corruption on the basis that there was wrong verification," he told ANC's Headstart.

"I just felt that if there’s any value to a super-majority, they will stand by the Chief Executive in his very strong position against graft and corruption," he said.

"I was so sure the President will not allow his super-majority to dismiss a very serious case of graft and corruption on the basis of the verification," he added.

The House justice committee last month dismissed the impeachment complaint against Bautista for being insufficient in form because of its defective verification, a basis used in previous decisions by the committee.

Weeks later, Bautista announced that he would resign by the end of the year following allegations he had P1 billion in undeclared wealth made public by his estranged wife Patricia.

However, hours later, the House plenary overturned the justice panel's decision and Bautista was impeached. 

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, head of the upper chamber where the impeachment trial takes place, has said the impeachment process may no longer proceed if Bautista will step down now and no longer wait for the end of the year.

The President said he agreed with Bautista's decision to leave the Commission on Elections, adding it would be better if he leaves as soon as possible.

In his resignation letter, Bautista told the President he will step down by the end of the year to give Duterte time to find his replacement.

Calling Bautista's reasoning arrogant, Roque urged Malacañang to release the poll chief's resignation to the public. He noted that unless Bautista issued an irrevocable resignation effective immediately, the President cannot accept his resignation.