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House deliberation on Bautista impeach raps a ‘farce’ — VACC

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio and  former Rep. Jacinto Paras sign the impeachment complaint they filed against Comelec Chair Andres Bautista. Pantaleon Alvarez/Released

MANILA, Philippines — “It's a farce.”

That is Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption lawyer and former congressman Jacinto Paras’ reaction after the House committee on justice dismissed the impeachment complaint filed against poll chief Juan Andres Bautista for insufficiency in form.

Paras, one of the complainants in the impeachment case against Bautista, criticized the House panel for disallowing correction and amendment on verification.  

“I mean I've been in Congress for nine years. During our time, there was no such farce in impeachment (deliberation),” Paras said in a recorded ambush interview.

“Sasabihin nila na the Supreme Court ruling daw on the idea that verification is correctible or can be amended, hindi daw valid ‘yun as far as the Congress is concerned pero ina-accept nila na valid yung Francisco ruling na one year ban,” he added.

READ:  Ex-solon, lawyer file impeachment complaint vs Comelec chief Bautista

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The Section 3(5), Article XI of the Constitution succinctly states that “no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.”

This was cited in the landmark case of “Francisco, Jr. v. The House of Representatives represented by then Speaker Jose De Venecia,” referred to by Paras.

Paras said members of the House panel might have benefited from Bautista thus prompting the dismissal of his impeachment complaint.

“So sala sa init, sala sa lamig,” Paras said referring to the House committee on justice.

Bautista was accused of alleged culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. The complaint was in connection with the poll chief’s alleged misdeclaration in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth as well as his supposed failure to “promptly act” on preventing the data breach of the Commission on Elections' website.

The corruption accusation was first raised by Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia “Tish” Bautista early August. 

RELATED: The story so far: Poll chief Andres Bautista and wife

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