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Rep. Suarez may hold the key to Bautista’s resignation

  • Written by Itchie G. Cabayan
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 359

While watching the news, I was kinda shocked at one of the headlines blurted out by the male newscaster --Comelec Chair Andy Bautista, ‘kapit-tuko pa rin sa posisyon.’ 

Well, to be brutally frank about it, that angle and the words used may have been harsh but they are true.

I stayed on after the break to watch the whole thing. In it, Bautista was asked by the reporters if he will resign and he dodged the question, saying the topic was about the coming elections. He was leaving the press when one threw an election-related query. Bautista came back and entertained it and when the question again turned to calls for his resignation, he left again, this time for good.   
    
Calls for Bautista to resign came and continue coming from different quarters after his estranged wife, Patricia, claimed a lot of things, among them that he had received commissions from a private law firm ‘assisting’ its clients with the Comelec and having at least 32 bank accounts and questionable wealth.       
    
The said law firm, according to reports, happens to be the legal counsel of Smartmatic, the Venezuelan poll technology provider which bagged the contracts for the implementation of the automated elections in 2010, 2013 and 2016.
    
All his supposed closest co-workers, the six Comelec commissioners, have urged Bautista to either take a leave or resign, even calling for a press conference to air their stand on the controversy hounding Bautista’s leadership.
    
According to their statement, which was read by Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, it was their consensus that Bautista ‘can no longer effectively lead the commission’ and that ‘the time for him to let go has come.’           
    
Their joint pronouncement came a day after lawmakers endorsed an impeachment complaint against Bautista, which stemmed from alleged hacking incidents in 2016 and alleged lack of truthfulness in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). Yet earlier, in June last year, the commissioners also issued a strongly-worded memo hitting Bautista for a “failed leadership” of the Comelec.     
    
Bautista denies all charges, of course. He said he had met with President Rodrigo Duterte at the height of the controversial ‘coming out act’ of Patricia. He also claimed having told the President that he is willing to resign and then went on to quote President Duterte as having told him: “I am not asking you to resign because that is really your call.”         
    
If I were Bautista, I will not in any way use this statement to hold on to my position. I’m sure he knows better. The President was just being polite or maybe, he was testing if Bautista had the delicadeza to at least take a leave of absence although resignation would have been the more perfect path. Did he expect the President to tell it to his face that he should resign?  Really? 
    
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez’s plans, if they are still a go, might just do the trick. He earlier said that the Comelec may receive zero budget for 2018 if Bautista will not resign from office. 
    
Suarez likewise said that the alleged surge in Bautista’s wealth in 2015 may have something to do or influenced the elections that took place in May 2016.               
    
News reports quoted Suarez as having said then and again: ‘Pagka lumabas sa hearing na nag-balloon talaga ’yung SALN niya ng 2015… ang implications nu’n ay hundreds of millions ang pumasok na hinawakan niyang pera, then the 2016 elections, I will assure and I will suspect na merong nanalo na da-pat ay natalo at may natalo na dapat nanalo… meaning, there is an order from the top, giving order to the Comelec na eto hindi dapat manalo, eto hindi dapat matalo.”
    
He further said: “I’m not calling it as mere inefficiency, I’m calling it that he’s not honest. Kasi kung ta-lagang nagkabayaran nu’ng 2015 for the 2016 elections, he’s a crook.”   
    
Could this also be the reason why some protest cases continue to gather dust in the Comelec? Just asking.  

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