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‘Impeachment cases must be filed in House’

MANILA, Philippines - All impeachment complaints against impeachable officials must be filed with the House of Representatives, majority leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas said yesterday.

Commenting on the filing by Oliver Lozano of an impeachment complaint against Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista with the ombudsman’s office, Fariñas said the Constitution clearly provides that the House “shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.”

“Unless, of course, Atty. Lozano is merely asking the ombudsman to investigate Chairman Bautista and for the ombudsman to be the one to file the impeachment complaint before the House,” he said. 

“Having said that, I am sure the ombudsman will tell Atty. Lozano to file his own verified complaint before the House pursuant to the Constitution,” he added.

Lozano, a Marcos loyalist, asked the ombudsman to look into Bautista’s alleged hidden wealth and to file an impeachment case against the Comelec chairman. 

Lozano said he did not want to file the case himself before the House because the chamber returned the complaints he previously filed against certain impeachment officials for lack of an endorsement.

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Among those against whom he filed a complaint was then president Benigno Aquino lll. Lozano failed to convince any congressman to endorse any of his complaints.

Former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras said he will also file an impeachment complaint against Bautista.

Patricia Bautista accused the Comelec chairman of having unexplained wealth?close to P1 billion. Among the evidence she presented are Bautista’s supposed ?35 passbooks from Luzon Development Bank totaling P329.2 million, an RCBC dollar account with $12,778 or P640,000, an RCBC peso account?with P257,931 in cash, an HSBC account with HK$948,358 or P6.1?billion, one condominium unit each in Bonifacio Global City’s High?Street in Taguig City and another in San Francisco, California.?Paras said Bautista could be held liable for not declaring all his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth like what happened to the late chief justice Renato Corona who was impeached in 2012.

Bautista said he is leaving it up to the court to decide on the accusations his estranged wife Patricia has thrown at him and he no longer wants to engage in a media war with her for the sake of their four sons. – With Sheila Crisostomo, Emmanuel Tupas

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