House panel to tackle Bautista articles of impeachment Wednesday
The House of Representatives is set to deliberate on the articles of impeachment to be filed against Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista this coming Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Justice committee chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali told reporters in a phone interview that before proceedings are initiated in the Senate in November, his panel may have to shore up the case first so an airtight case can be prosecuted in the impeachment court.
Umali said that “if it will suffice, then we may adopt” the complaint filed by former Negros Oriental 1st Dist. Rep. Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.
“Otherwise, then we will have to look at how we will strengthen that case. We will do some case buildup,” Umali said.
“We may have to subpoena some people and or some documents so that we will have them ready before we start with the impeachment trial in Senate,” he added.
It may be recalled that the justice committee had not tackled at length the substance of the complaint. The committee on Sept. 20 initially dismissed it for insufficiency in form, due to a flawed verification form.
The House plenary on Oct. 11 voted 137-75-2 to override the committee’s recommendation and directed it to prepare the articles of impeachment to be transmitted to the Senate.
Albay 1st Dist. Rep. Edcel Lagman on Thursday said the committee should have at least been allowed to thresh out the substance of the complaint first.
Lawmakers in favor of Bautista’s impeachment said he may be bluffing when he announced his plan to resign “by the end of the year” on the morning of Oct. 11. This led them to conclude he should be impeached to avoid giving him a year’s reprieve from subsequent impeachment attempts.
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