now that the impeachment process has started rolling in the House despite the majority leader’ objections, and now that his fellow commissioners have publicly asked him to resign or take a leave so he can attend to his troubles with family, SALN, atbp., comelec chief andy bautista has to decide soon, and he says he will, in the next few days.
In a radio interview, Bautista admitted that he has reached a crossroad in his life where [he] is now weighing the interests of his family, the Comelec, democracy, and the 2016 elections.
clearly, family is not the primary consideration or he would have resigned already. so it must be the 2016 elections. the grapevine has always alleged that it was rigged, that comelec and smartmatic connived to make LP win (mar, leni, the senate slate) except that in mar’s case, duterte was so far ahead, naging imposible nang talunin, which of course puts leni’s win, and our so-called democracy, into question, along with: how many votes did every one get ba talaga?
andy bautista has always denied it: no evidence or proof of cheating daw. if that is so, then what is it about the comelec and democracy and 2016 that weighs on his mind more heavily than family?
can it be na totoo ang chismis, there was cheating? which could mean that andy has been hoping that the beneficiaries of the cheating would could move heaven and earth to foil an impeachment attempt dahil sasabit din sila? and / or maybe andy has been hoping to strike a deal with the duterte admin — leave me be and i will make sure you win the plebiscite on charter change and federalism? is that too wild a thought?
alas for andy, an impeachment complaint was filed august 23 by former negros oriental rep jacinto paras and lawyer ferdinand topacio.
Apart from alleged misdeclaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, the complainants also cited as ground for the criminal liability of Bautista the hacking of the Comelec website that led to the leakage of voters’ database as found by the National Privacy Commission.
They accused him of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust in the complaint, which was immediately endorsed by three representatives… Gwen Garcia of Cebu, Abraham Tolentino of Cavite and Harry Roque of Kabayan.
the very next day, august 24, the house of reps’ secretary-general transmitted the complaint to the office of the speaker who has 10 session days to refer it to the rules committee that has three session days to refer it to the justice committee that has sole jurisdiction over impeachment cases.
majority leader rudy fariñas, however, is being difficult. puro hearsay lang daw, absent the personal knowledge of the complainants.
Fariñas underscored the importance of the verification portion of an impeachment document, which states that complainants must have evidence of their “own personal knowledge and/or culled from authentic documents”.
also, kailangan daw munang tapusin ng House ang budget deliberations, which he says wlll be around mid-september pa. hmmm. back in the time of corona, fariñas was part of a minority that didn’t sign the impeachment complaint. today, it is said that it is he, not speaker alvarez, who calls the shots in the House. read manolo quezon’s A Congress of cats
Today, the point person in the House is Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, arguably one of the most powerful holders of that position in living memory. This is because Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, even in his previous stint as a representative, was never a major mover or shaker and, aside from his closeness to President Duterte, lacks a track record of leadership or camaraderie, or a party franchise and independent means to quickly assert personal dominance in the House (in contrast to his predecessors and successors who were active party men before they assumed the speakership, like Manuel Villar Jr. who compensated for his lack of political ties with an immense personal fortune and by taking over the Nacionalista Party franchise).
in the year 2000 it took just 11 days from the chavit exposé that tagged erap as a jueteng lord (oct 7) for the house of reps to file a motion to impeach (oct 18). in less than a month (nov 13) senate prez manny villar, upon obtaining the minimum one-third (73 of 218) votes, declared erap impeached and ordered the complaint transmitted to the senate without delay. trial started dec 7 and abruptlly ended jan 17 2001.
in 2011 it took just six days since the PNoy speech (dec 6) savaging chief justice renato corona (seated just two meters away) for being beholden to former prez gma and for his foiled attempt to allow her to leave the country against the new admin’s wishes. dec 12 iloilo rep niel tupas of the justice committee presented an impeachment complaint that a few hours later was signed by 188 of 284 reps and transmitted at once to the senate. the trial began jan 16, ended may 29 2012.
in 2017 it’s taken 16 days for tish’s exposé to elicit an impeachment complaint. despite fariñas. quick enough, considering that so much else is going on. feels like a confluence of events coming up, and then again maybe not, yet. the only thing i’m sure of is that we’re being asked to multi-task, to be vigilant on multiple fronts. it’s a test.