Group eyes second impeachment complaint against Comelec chief

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) is planning to file a second impeachment complaint against Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista.

Earlier this week, former Negros Oriental Representative and current VACC member Jacinto Paras requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for copies of documents related to the allegations made by Bautista’s estranged wife, Patricia.

Patricia Bautista recently submitted an affidavit before the NBI, alleging that her husband has nearly one billion pesos of ‘unexplained’ wealth that were not included in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

On Monday, August 14, VACC asked the NBI for “certified copies of the Affidavit of (Mrs.) Patricia Bautista and the 35 Luzon Development Bank (LDB) passbooks, RCBC peso account document and other documents submitted to your good office.”

The group said it will use the documents in building an impeachment case against Bautista.

“Our said client is resorting to this request owing to the fact that the Committee on Justice of the House of Representatives will not accept any documents other than certified or original, appended to impeachment complaints,” VACC’s legal counsel Manny Luna said in his letter to the NBI.

VACC added that it will also request copies of Bautista’s SALN from the Office of the Ombudsman.

In a speech before Comelec employees, the commission’s chief said that the controversy is among the “biggest challenge[s]” of his life.

While reiterating that he is willing to step down from his post, Bautista said he finds it hard to lose his family at the Comelec.

“It’s not hard to give up this post or step down from my position. It’s not a problem. My problem is losing my Comelec family who over the years have shown their sincere, genuine care and affection,” a tearful Bautista told the agency officials and employees.

Malacañang on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte is going to support any moves, including impeachment complaints, against any official regardless of position if it would help in ridding the government of corruption.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella issued the statement when asked if Duterte will back possible impeachment cases against Bautista.

“Without making references to any particular individual, the president, of course, is highly supportive of all moves that will set the house, the Philippine government in order. And he’s been very clear about that, that is one of his campaign promises,” Abella told reporters.

The first impeachment complaint against Bautista has already been filed by Marcos loyalist and lawyer Oliver Lozano before the Office of the Ombudsman last week.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has authorized the NBI to investigate Patricia’s claims against her husband.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) is also conducting a separate probe into possible violations committed by Bautista when he was still the agency’s head.

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