Bautista resignation: Chronology of events

Photo courtesy of Juan Andres Bautista's Facebook Page
Photo courtesy of Juan Andres Bautista's Facebook Page

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista has been on the spotlight for the past months following controversies which later led to his resignation from his post.

This, as the poll body chief’s personal life was rocked by the accusations of undeclared wealth hurled by his estranged wife, Patricia Paz.

Here is a quick rundown of the events prior to Bautista’s resignation as head of the poll body:

August 7, 2017 – Patricia Paz revealed that the Comelec chief has ‘ill-gotten’ wealth worth over PHP1 billion which was not declared in the latter’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). These include several deposits in various banks, real estate properties and commissions he allegedly received from the Divina Law office.

In a press conference, the Comelec chief, however, belied these accusations noting that he is ready to face any probe on the matter as he hoped that the issues between him and his estranged wife would be settled or addressed in a civil and decent manner.

August 9, 2017 – The Comelec chief filed several charges against Patricia Paz in connection with the latter’s accusations that he has ill-gotten wealth at the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office.

At the same time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to coordinate with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in conducting a probe on Bautista’s alleged hidden wealth.

August 22, 2017 – The DOJ tasked the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to investigate allegations of corruption and unexplained wealth against Bautista during his stint as PCGG chairman as well as to perform other investigative powers under its mandate.

August 23, 2017 – Former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio filed an impeachment complaint against the Comelec chief on the grounds of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust amid hidden wealth allegations. The complaint was endorsed by 26 congressmen.

August 24, 2017 – Comelec Commissioners Christian Robert Lim, Al Parreño, Luie Tito Guia, Arthur Lim, Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon and Sheriff Abas asked Bautista to take a leave of absence or resign, amid controversies surrounding him including an impeachment complaint filed against him.

September 20, 2017 – In a 26-2 vote, the House justice committee junked the impeachment complaint filed by Paras and Topacio against Bautista due to insufficiency in form. The panel also rejected the motion of Kabayan Partylist Rep. Harry Roque to accept a substitute verification to address a potential defect on the basis of form.

September 26, 2017 – Patricia Paz, accompanied by her lawyer Lorna Kapunan, filed disbarment raps against University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law dean Nilo Divina and 20 lawyers from the Divina Law office for alleged violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility for giving referral fees to the Comelec chairman.

October 5, 2017 – Voting 26-2, the House justice committee approved a committee report formally junking the impeachment complaint against Bautista due to insufficiency in form. (PNA)