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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, October 12, 2017
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Majority of Negros' reps
vote to impeach Bautista
Ferrer, Limkaichong, Alejano against move

Most of the congressmen from Negros Occidental yesterday joined the majority in the House of Representatives in voting to impeach Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista, overturning a justice committee resolution that had earlier dismissed the complaint against him, Rep. Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod partylist) said yesterday.

The Lower House voted 137-75 to impeach Bautista with 2 abstentions, hours after the latter announced that he is resigning from his post effective December 31.

If Bautista's resignation were effective immediately, the impeachment will be moot and academic, Paduano said.

“But of course if somebody files criminal and administrative cases against him (Bautista)in different courts it's a different story. It would not be within the jurisdiction of both houses of Congress anymore,” Paduano, who is from Bacolod City, said.

Except for Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer (Neg. Occ., 4 th District), being a member of the House Justice Committee, and Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) who was with President Rodrigo Dutertefor the groundbreaking of an Armed Forces of the Philippines/Philippine National Police housing project in Bulacan, he and the rest of the representatives from Negros Occidental voted for Bautista's impeachment, Paduano said.

The other Negros Occidental representatives are Melecio Yap (1 st District), Leo Rafael Cueva (2 nd District), Alejandro Mirasol (5 th District), and Mercedes Alvarez (6 th District), and Greg Gasataya (Bacolod).

There is substantial evidence against Bautista, and his wife will testify against him on his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth and bank accounts, he added.

“It is just fair tothe institution, to the people and for him to have his day to defend himself before the impeachment court,”Paduano said.

Rep. Gary Alejano (MagdaloPartylist) from Negros Occidental said he voted to affirm the report of the House Justice Committee to dismiss the impeachment complaint against Bautista.

Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong (Neg. Or., 1st District)also said she voted yes in support of the House Justice Committee report. “I yield to the wisdom of the justice committee members who voted to dismiss the complaint. Besides, an impeachment proceeding will be moot and academic once commissioner Andy Bautista resigns as announced earlier today,” she added.

Rep.ArnulfoTeves Jr. (Neg. Or., 3rd District) said he abstained.

“It is unfortunate that the decision of the House Committee on Justice, which was voted upon twice by a vote of 26-2, to dismiss the impeachment complaint against me was overturned this afternoon by the House of Representatives,” Bautista said in a statement.

Bautista said he will abide by the rules regarding the impeachment case lodged against him by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacioin August.

“While it may be an unnecessary move since I already tendered my resignation to the President today effective end of the year to ensure smooth transition, I will abide by the Constitution and the relevant rules regarding the impeachment process,” he added.

Bautista announced that he had sent his resignation letter to Malacañangyesterday morning, citing personal reasons.*CPG



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