Despite the resignation of Chair Andres Bautista from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) effective Dec. 31, our lawmakers still insist on proceeding with the impeachment case against him since, according to them, his resignation is not yet effective.
While such proposition is legal, it is no longer practical considering that his impeachment will be rendered moot and academic as it is very obvious that it will not be terminated on or before Dec. 31.
Congress will adjourn from Oct. 14-Nov. 12; will resume session on Nov. 13-Dec. 15 and will adjourn again from Dec. 16, 2017-Jan. 14, 2018, or merely 17 session days (Nov. 13-Dec. 15) to act on said case. Clearly, Congress has no sufficient time to finish Bautista’s impeachment until his resignation takes effect on Dec. 31.
Bautista and his family, especially his children, had already suffered a lot in the eyes of the public because of the very controversial family feud he had with his wife. Thus, it is high time we showed him our compassion for the apparent humiliation and embarrassment he and his children underwent during all those times when his private life was publicly exposed. In a word, he still deserves a compassionate judgment from our lawmakers and from all of us. For “justice without compassion is no justice at all.”
After all, Bautista, in his short stint as Comelec chair, had demonstrated his sincere efforts to protect the integrity of our election as evidenced by the conduct of the 2016 elections hailed by independent and foreign observers as the best managed and most credible election in our country. The credibility of said election was even affirmed when the Presidential Electoral Tribunal dismissed the issue of credibility of the 2016 automated election system that was questioned by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
For sure, Bautista resigned with a heavy heart judging from his letter of resignation where he asked Comelec officials and employees to faithfully serve the interests of the Filipino people to whom he expressed his gratitude for allowing him to lead the Comelec.
There are other important and urgent matters that could be attended to by Congress instead of wasting its time and public funds on Bautista’s impeachment, which our lawmakers are fully aware will be
mooted by his resignation. He has a very valid reason for not making his resignation “effective immediately” since, according to him, he wants to give ample time for President Duterte to look for his replacement, which again shows his deep concern for the welfare of the Comelec. For that alone, Bautista still deserves compassion rather than outright condemnation.
ROMULO B. MACALINTAL, election lawyer, Las Piñas City
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