FATE

Commission on Elections Chairman J. Andres Bautista will decide on his fate in the next couple of days, according to one of his colleagues.

Comelec Commissionner Arthur Lim revealed this as he  attended a hearing of the House Committee on Suffrage on the postponement of the Barangay and Sanngguniang Kabataan Elections from October 2017 to May 2018 in Bautista’s place.

“the chairman is really taking stock of the situation… within the next few days there miht be some developments as to what specifically im not privy and im not in a position to tell

could be one of the 3 continue to discharge his functions…. take a leave of absence

or resign that we will know in the next few days”

at the start of the hearing, Lim read Bautista’s letter to the panel explaining why he is skipping the hearing.

“it is unfortunate that i will not be able to personally attend… because of a prior engagement in davao city…because the comelec will be having a public hearing the possible postponement of the BSKElections in the entire mindanao.”

This prompted Kabayan Party List Re Harry Roque to say, “i actually am a bit confused as tothe reason given…he opted to go to a public hearing of the postponement of the same elections…today is a lawmaking exercise…im really concerned that the recent events involving chairman bautista has affected the discharge of his functions i consider his non appearance her as possible effect….”

Roque asked if the absence was an effect of Bautista’s ongoing public and messy spat with his estranged wife Patricia Cruz Bautista over allegations that the poll chief has ill-gotten wealth.

Lim admits the controversy has affected the body. “to say that the present controversy is not affecting at all the honorable chairman of the comelec or even the institution is perhaps to make an udnerstatement… that said in my humble view whether or not chairman bautista continues as chairman or takes a leave of absence or resigns as chairman of the commission is a judgment call which he alone can and should make.”

Lim maintained the commission will function even if the chairman is indisposed. “that said again with all due respect to our honorable chairman we are a collegial body with or without him the comelec will continue to function that i can assure our people”

Lim also said, “even as the commission is enveloped in this controversy which is really 2 pronged against the person of the chairman as spouse and father as himself and against his eprson as chairman of the comelec we in the comelec are performing our duties

it is work as usual”

Lim led the Comelec team in the hearing of the committee.

Suffrage Committee Chair Sherwin Tugna said, “I also believe art lim would be very much able to reoresent the entire commission its just that the entire congress…i also believe as primus inter pares in the commission allof you has the same weight this body has been accustomed to his presence.”

EARLIER, The poll chief told media he sent advanced word to the Committee on Suffrage that he will be skipping the hearing. “No RG, am going to Davao for a public hearing on the Barangay and SK elections in Mindanao given the state of Martial Law. “

asked if this hearing was scheduled a long time ago, Bautista said, “Yes-  it was even published.  Com Art Lim will represent the Commission in the hearing.  I also wrote Chair Tugna last week so he is aware.”

Suffrage Committee Chair Sherwin Tugna confirmed that Bautista won’t be at the hearing in a separate phone call.

Bautista has come under fire including possible impeachment after his estranged wife Patricia Cruz Bautista took to the media to allege that Bautista has ill gotten wealth. the estranged couple ate going through a messy public separation with husband accusing wife of extortion in return.

The Committee scheduled a hearing today to deliberate on a pending proposal to again reschedule the 2017 barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections from  this October to May next year.

The bill will implement the consensus reached in a caucus last week where lawmakers  also agreed to keep incumbent barangay officials in a hold over capacity. the postponement has the twin goals of synchronizing the elections with a possible plebescite to amend the 1987 charter.

President Duterte has asked for the postponement to allow him the opportunity to weed our barangay officials allegedly linked to illegal drugs.