Rep. Roque: ‘Girl power’ rules in poll chief oust move
“Girl power” prevailed in the move to oust Andres Bautista from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque said on Tuesday following President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to accept the resignation of the top election official.
After the House committee on justice declared the impeachment move against Bautista moot and academic Tuesday, Roque and the three women who fought for the Comelec chief’s ouster—his estranged wife Patricia “Tish” Bautista, her counsel Lorna Kapunan and House Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia—faced the media.
“Pinakita lang kung gaano ka-makapangyarihan ang mga kababaihan sa ating bayan (This goes to show how powerful women are in our society),” Roque said in the press conference.
It was not only “girl power” that prevailed but also the “power of truth and the power of the people to speak up,” according to Kapunan.
“This may be the end for the House of the Representatives but this is the beginning for Patricia and for all of us who are helping to assist her in bringing out the plunder, not only of Andy Bautista, but also the complicity of Divina Law Firm, and Smartmatic, and all family members who made possible stealing from the Filipino people, at the very least P1 billion,” Kapunan said.
Patricia filed a disbarment cases against University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina and 20 of his colleagues at the Divina Law Office. Patricia alleged that the law firm had been issuing checks and commission sheets under Bautista’s name and his family members.
In August, Patricia showed to the media and the President several passbooks, bank and real property documents under her husband’s name and some of his relatives that were not included in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) amounting to P1 billion. Bautista only declared P176.3 million in his SALN.
With Bautista’s resignation, Patricia said she feels vindicated.
“It’s done and there’s much relief on our part, and I personally feel vindicated with what I believe in the systems, and institutions and the people behind them,” she said.
Now that Bautista has lost his immunity from suit, Kapunan said they were “inspired” to push through with the filing of plunder charges against him.
“Now Bautista can no longer hide because of his claimed immunity, now that he can no longer boast that he knows congressmen, senators, judges, because he’s just citizen Andy Bautista,” Kapunan added.
The lawyer said they had forwarded the evidence to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and they are only waiting for NBI’s findings to come out before making their next move. /jpv
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