April 26, 2018, 7:35 pm
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Bautista impeachment bid likely to be dismissed

THE impeachment complaint against  Elections chair Andres Bautista is in danger of being dismissed by the House committee on justice because complainants “copied” a defective verification form used by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) in its impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno that the same panel dismissed yesterday for being insufficient in form.

Majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas revealed that the complainants against Bautista, former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, copied the defective verification form of the VACC and the Vanguard of Philippine Constitution.

In the same hearing, the VACC-Vanguard complaint was dismissed by the justice panel for not using the verification form for private complainants.

Fariñas said the Paras-Topacio complaint used a verification form for impeachment complaints endorsed by one-third of the members of the House for an automatic transmittal to the Senate even if only three congressmen – Rep. Harry Roque (PL, Kabayan), Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia and Rep. Abraham Tolentino (PDP-Laban, Cavite) – have endorsed it.

“You copied the verification form (of the VACC-Vanguard complaint. I know because I’ve read it,” the majority leader told Roque.

Fariñas made the revelation after Roque complained that the House rules governing impeachment complaints is silent on how verification forms for private complainants in impeachment complaints should appear.

The majority leader said he reacted because he felt he was being alluded to by Roque since he was the one who crafted the impeachment rules.

Rep. Reynaldo Umali (PDP-Laban, Oriental Mindoro), justice panel chair, agreed that the complaint against Bautista may end up dismissed, too although he vowed to “look into it.”

Rep. Tom Villarin (PL, Akbayan) said: “Yes, it (Paras-Topacio complaint) is deficient in form as prescribed in the rules of impeachment and likely would be dismissed.”

The complaint against Bautista is based on various grounds, including the allegation of Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia that he amassed some P1 billion and did not disclose this in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

The complaint also accused Bautista of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution and indirect bribery.
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