DISCERNMENT

Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista is thinking of resigning or going on leave amid his public and messy separation from his wife Patricia Cruz-Bautista who has accused him of amassing ill-gotten wealth.

Bautista attended the 1st Malolos Election Congress in Bulacan where comelec employees wore shirts and flaglets with the words “We stand for Chairman Andy.”

The employees, led by region 3 provincial election supervisors and regional election directors, paid tribute to Bautista’s work and expressed sympathy, love and support for Bautista.

Bautista was warmly received by employees who shook hands, wished him well and took pictures with him.

when asked if he would resign,  Bautista said, “pinagiisipan at pinagdadasalan”

asked about going on leave, Bautista said, “ were considering various options pinagiisipan pinagaaralan pinagdadasalan i think this is part of the process”

asked about the possibility of being impeached, Bautista said, “ ganun talaga ang pruseso“

asked about the support he has been getting from Comelec employees, Bautista said, “siyempre nakakataba ng puso at nagbibigay ng lakas.”

In his speech to the comelec employees, Bautista appealed for prayers for his discernment. “ito na po ang hamon ko bilang isang magulang bilang isang anak bilang isang pinuno ng isang ahensiya ng pamahalaan…ano ba talaga ang kalooban ng diyos para sa akin ano ba ang aking dapat gawin…akin lang hinihingi ay patuloy pagdarasal ng aking  mahanap kalaooban ng diyos  at patuloy pagdarasal para sa aking mga anak na sa totoo lang ngayon ay medyo  yung nalilito. di pumapasok ng eskwelahan”

In the same speech, Bautista maintained the need to uphold the integrity of the election. “lahat tayo ay kasama sa isang ahensiya sa comelec wala naman sa ating indispensable lahat naman tayo pwede palitan pero ang  napakahalaga ay dapat panatilihin ang kredibilidad  at intergidad ng ating  kumisyon”

Bautista also appealed to critics to spare the poll body from politicking. “di tayo dapat pinupulitka kasi pag pinupulikta at nagkaroon ng mantsa ang kumisyon

magkakaroon din ang mantsa ang ating demokrasya

alam niyo naman lahat ang nangyari nung may 2016 elections.”

Bautista flatly denied allegations of corruption. “di po totoo yan yuna ng prublema dito kung ano anong dokumento ang lumalabas di ko alam saan galing kaya maganda wag sa media pinapakita ipakita na lang sa korte…sana kasi yung aming eprosnal na prublema ng aking asawa dapat sana wag nang bahiran ng pulitika”

Bautista reiterated his ready to explain his side at the proper forum. “sa tamang panahon at sa tamang lugar hindi sa media dapat yan sa korte in fact andiyan yung aking kapatid na umipad ..maipapaliwanag namin nakita niyo na ba yung dokumento na nagsasabi pati yung aking misis alam naman niya eh  na nagkacoinvest kami matagal na 1990s pa sa tamang panahon at tamang lugar papaliwanag namin yun”

Bautista is also prepared to take questions during the upcoming budget hearings in Congress. “as i said ako naman walang tinatago kung anuman yung tanong siansagot natin maselan yung tanong sa tamang lugar at tamang panahon itong issue ng dokumento ano ba for example itong dokumentong ito di ba 10 buwan ang nakalipas nung ninakaw itong mga dokumento ito di natin alam ito ba dinuktor na pinalitan at marami kaming pruweba na magpapakita nito sa tamang panahon”

Earlier this week, House Speaker Pantaleon  Alvarez thinks Comelec Chair Andres Bautista should consider resigning.

Asked if Bautista should stay in office, Alvarez said, “I think Chairman Bautista should consider that seriously. Kasi when you head that agency na handling elections sa bansa, kailangan po talagang credible iyan. Kapag may bahid na iyan, medyo hindi na po maganda.”

At the same time, the speaker maintained that while Bautista can quit his post, but that won’t get him off any legal liabilities.”It is an option for him. Ngayon… but it doesn’t mean na off the hook na siya, kasi po maraming issues. Mayroong marital issues, hindi po natin pakikialaman yun, pero mayroong issues ng corruption, may issues ng sa Smartmatic, mayroong issues ng money laundering, kailangan pong alamin iyan ng gobyerno.”

Alvarez  added “Kasi it looks like mayroong isang maliit na bangko, yung Luzon Development Bank ba yun? Na doon dinadaan yung pera. Sino ba naman ang nagdedeposito doon? Puwede nating tingnan, kapag inimbistigahan po natin iyan, maglalabasan naman lahat iyan.

Likewise Alvarez says filing an impeachment complaint  against Comelec Chair Andres Bautista is an option for estranged wife, Patricia Cruz-Bautista, saying she has personal knowledge about the case.

Personal knowledge of the complaint has been a requirement laid down by the House for complainants in an impeachment when it dismissed the impeachment complaint against President Duterte last year.

asked if the documents held by Tish can be a basis for an impeachment trial, Alvarez said, “ Ayaw kong pangunahan yung Committee on Justice. Pero kung gusto noong wife niya na mag-file ng impeachment complaint, puwede niyang i-file yun sa House of Representatives and we have to process it. Yes, kasi may personal knowledge yun.”

Alvarez explains should one be filed, the House will have to tackle it. “Iba rin po yun, we have to process it, hindi naman pupuwedeng basta hindi naman i-process yung ifinile na impeachment complaint. So titingnan namin kung sufficient in form, kung sufficient in substance. Tapos, pagkatapos noon, ipo-forward namin iyan sa Senado.”

Alvarez says the Bautistas should have been able to discuss their marital woes amongs themselves.

Sana hindi umabot sa ganito, kasi puwede namang napag-usapan na lang sana nila privately, tapos magpetition sila jointly before the court for the dissolution of their marriage, nakaayos na lahat doon – separation of property, yung custody of children, yung support, dapat hindi na talaga umabot sa ganoong sitwasyon.”

Comelec employees held a mass and employees prayed over him at the end of that mass.

They also sang  “if we hold on together,” the same song sung for then President Gloria Arroyo at the height of resignation calls in 2005 by the Hyatt 10—shortly before they quit her cabinet.