Bautista officially steps down as Comelec chair
Published: 6:41 p.m., Oct. 23. 2017 | Updated: 12:11 a.m., Oct. 24, 2017
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista has officially stepped down from his post, making his impeachment by the House of Representatives moot.
In a hastily called press briefing at the Comelec office in Intramuros on Monday, Bautista said he would vacate his office “at the close of [the day’s] business hours.”
He made the announcement after receiving a letter from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea at around 2:30 p.m. informing him that President Duterte had accepted his resignation.
“I wish to inform you that your resignation is hereby accepted, effective immediately,” part of Medialdea’s letter read.
Bautista told reporters that he would no longer attend the Comelec’s en banc session on Tuesday.
His announcement came on the day the postponed 2017 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections were supposed to be held.
Bautista said he expected the letter from Medialdea.
“What is clear from my talks with Medialdea is that I will respect whatever the President’s decision will be. This was his reply to my letter to him, and I accept it,” Bautista said.
To look after family
Citing the need to look after his family, he tendered his resignation to Mr. Duterte on Oct. 11 and said he would step down on Dec. 31.
Later that day, however, the House voted 137-75, with two abstentions, to impeach Bautista.
He declined to speculate if his resignation would have an effect on the impeachment case.
“The President has answered that before, that if you have resigned, then there should be no more case. Let Congress decide on that … I don’t want to preempt them,” Bautista said.
Upon receiving the letter, Bautista met with his staff and some senior poll officials for more than half an hour before holding the press briefing.
As he stepped out of his office, scores of Comelec employees shook his hand and bid him farewell.
Bautista managed to meet only one of the six commissioners, Sheriff Abas, whom he visited at the latter’s office.
The Comelec en banc is expected to choose the acting chair who will serve until the President appoints a permanent chief, whose term will end in February 2022.
The poll body’s most senior commissioner is Christian Robert Lim.
Relieved, sad to part
Bautista said he was both relieved that a big responsibility had been lifted from his shoulders, and sad that he had to part with his Comelec family of two years.
Former President Benigno Aquino III appointed Bautista as Comelec chair in May 2015, a year before the 2016 national and local elections.
“It’s a mixture of feelings. Right now I’m still trying to sort it out. I am not in shock,” Bautista said. /pdi