Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista should take a leave of absence—or even quit- COMELEC commissioners.
In a statement, Comelec Commissioners Robert Lim, Al Parreño, Luie Tito Guia, Arthur Lim, Ma. Rowena Guanzon and Sheriff Abas said Bautista “can no longer effectively lead the commission,” in the light of recent “collateral issues” hounding him, including an endorsed impeachment case before Congress and allegations of ill-gotten wealth hurled by his estranged wife Patricia Cruz.
“In our view, while due process of law will take its normal course, Chair Bautista’s defense will not be spirited but arduous, to say the least. He will need to devote all his time, energy and effort,” the statement read.
|'Magkakasama kami kanina. Wala namang sinasabi sa aking magpapa-press con. Hindi man lang ako binusinahan,Chairman told Rappler in a phone interview regarding hid fellow COMELEC executives urging him to take a leave or resign. (photo credit to owner)|
Chairman Bautista brushed the statement and said the commissioners’ proposal ““are options that I have been considering and praying over. When I decide, they will be the first to know.”
Bautista has no prior knowledge of the intention of the commissioners’ coming up with a statement moreso issuing it in a press conference.
“The grounds cited in the impeachment complaint as well as the accusations that have been hurled between the spouses are utterly serious and partake of serious possible criminal liability,” the commissioners’ statement read.
They stressed they were not pressuring Bautista to take a leave or resign, as any decision is ultimately his alone.
Lim, said the absence of the Comelec chair in the budget hearing in the House of Representatives was the final straw for him, Comelec was threatened with a P1 budget for 2018.
Lim said that he understands Bautista’s putting his family first over work but lamented Comelec as an institution are taking all the blows.
“Walang (Nothing) personal. Iniisip lang naming ang kapakanan ng Comelec, mga contrata at paghahanda ng lahat ng bagay na dapat tutukan ng chairman (What’s best for Comelec is what we have in mind – the contracts and all the preparations the chairman should focus on), not weighed down by the magnitude of the problems he is facing,” Lim added.*
For Commissioner Guanzon, It is best for him and the Comelec to resign so that he can (prepare) fully for his defense. Besides, since the first day I advised him to file a leave, he failed to attend two en banc meetings and the budget hearing. He cannot and does not give a hundred percent,” she added.
If the chairman so decides to resign or take a leave of absence, the remaining commissioners via a majority vote would have to choose among themselves and designate a new chairman .
“With or without the chairman, the commission will continue to function and operate. Work as usual,” Lim said.
“Advantage lang pag nawala si chairman, either resign or leave, wala na kaming tinatanaw na multo sa kanto na dapat isipin at pagkaabalahan. Concentration na lang ay trabaho (The advantage of not having the chairman anymore if he resigns or takes a leave is that we don’t have to be wary of a ghost at the corner. We can concentrate on the job),” Arthur Lim said.
But more importantly by sacrificing himself either by resigning or taking leave, the integrity of the 2016 election will not be put into question, Commissioner Lim explained. *
Reports form philstar