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Bautista’s estranged wife confident in impeachment process vs poll chief

In this Aug. 4, 2017 photo, Patricia Paz Bautista, the estranged wife of Philippine elections chief Andres Bautista breaks into tears during an interview in metropolitan Manila, Philippines. Her husband, Andres, has filed criminal complaints against her after she publicly accused him of amassing unexplained wealth and receiving commissions from a law firm whose clients include a company that provided vote-counting machines in last year's presidential polls. AP/Aaron Favila, file

MANILA, Philippines — Patricia “Tish” Bautista, estranged wife of impeached poll chief Andres Bautista, and her lawyer on Thursday said they have full confidence in government institutions handling the cases against him.

Patricia’s spokesperson, lawyer Lorna Kapunan, explained that even with the disappointment at the first round of impeachment deliberation when the complaint was found insufficient by the House committee on Justice, they never lost their hope and remained optimistic.

“In the first place, Patricia did not file the impeachment complaint and we were confident that the ongoing investigation of the NBI when the time would come for us to present evidence – whether in a regular court or the Congress, or in the Senate, we would have substantiated the allegations in the affidavit of Patricia Bautista,” Kapunan said in a televised phone patch interview with CNN Philippines.

“Patricia's statement really is that she has full faith and confidence in the institution, whether it be the Ombudsman. If he (Andy) is now a private individual and the resignation is accepted whether he is a still an impeachable office, we will also rely on the Senate,” she added.

Kapunan said Andy may also face plunder cases in regular courts.

On Wednesday evening, the lawmakers overrode the decision of the House Justice committee to junk the impeachment complaint against Andy. The members voted 137-75 to reverse its earlier decision.

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Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption lawyers Jacinto Paras and Ferdinand Topacio filed the impeachment case before the House of Representatives.

The accusers alleged Andy committed culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. This was in connection with the poll chief’s alleged misdeclaration in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, which was raised by Patricia early August.  

The lower house’s decision to impeach Andy came hours after the Comelec chair announced he was tendering an irrevocable resignation effective December 31 to give President Rodrigo Duterte time to choose a suitable replacement.

'Congress correct in impeaching poll chief'

Kapunan welcomed the lower chamber of the Congress’ decision and said it is good that there is now a forum to discuss Andy’s supposed corruption.

The lawyer stressed that the public may now understand how Andy’s case is not just a domestic case between husband and wife and involving a children but now of “higher level national interest,” which she said should really be under an impeachment court.

For Kapunan, the Congress is correct in reversing their decision as he is already playing with them citing that the poll chief prayed for discernment and made an announcement to resign effective three months later. She said President Rodrigo Duterte should be insulted that Andy only resigned when the timing is convenient.

“Don’t play with Congress,” Kapunan concluded, adding that Andy should face the charges with his evidence. 

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