It was a day full of surprises. Just when the newsrooms of major media were all set to headline the resignation of Comelec chief Andres Bautista came the report from the House that 137 members voted to impeach him.
Not only is Bautista the first Commission on Elections chairman to be impeached. The shocker was that the House voting in plenary overturned its own justice committee ruling on Sept. 30 to dismiss an earlier impeachment complaint against him. This, despite Bautista’s announcement earlier in the day to resign his post effective the end of the year.
One third of the full House membership, voting 137 to 75, saw Bautista’s resignation as a ploy to avoid impeachment since his resignation letter to President Duterte was not immediate and irrevocable.
What if President Duterte decided not to accept it or appoint Bautista to another key position in the government? Majority of the congressmen including House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez considered the allegations against Bautista as serious offenses. These are misdeclaration of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth and failure to address accusations his office did not do anything about Smartmatic’s faulty voting mechanism before the 2016 presidential elections.
The House will transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate which will then convene itself into an impeachment court as it did in the case of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona .
There are some senators, however, who expressed the view that since the primary intent of impeachment is the removal of an official of a constitutional body , the Senate would then only be wasting its time since Bautista has already announced his resignation.
Bautista said he resigned because he did not want his personal problems to affect the institution that is the Comelec. He was referring to his legal problems with estranged wife Patricia who exposed his alleged P1-billion hidden and unexplained wealth.
He also said now is a good time to resign since the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections have been postponed. In his resignation letter to President Duterte , Bautista explained the time frame end of the year was to give enough time for his replacement and a transition team to take over the Comelec in a seamless manner.
Internecine politics has produced an exchange of foul language among those who get enmeshed in it.
In Washington, US President Donald Trump is not only on a firing binge of his own appointees but is engaging them in a word war which leads Americans to wonder who’s minding the store. Trump challenged his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to an IQ test after the latter reportedly called the president a moron.
Trump at present is taking on Republican party mate Senator Bob Corker who remarked the president is running the government like a reality show and his policy on North Korea is “heading us toward World War III.” This, after Trump said there’s only way to deal with “little rocket man,” an allusion to Nokor leader Kim Jong- Un. Trump did not give specifics on what extreme measure he would employ against the North Korean leader.
South Korea, meanwhile, claimed the North was able to hack into US-ROK war plans in the event hostilities break out in the Korean peninsula. If so, then Pyongyang’s cyber capability has reached a level of sophistication.
Or is it Nokor ally China behind the cyber attack? China has been accused before by the US as behind the hacking of the Pentagon’s confidential documents.
But let’s leave Washington politics as there’s enough vitriol going on here in our own backyard. A confidential assistant of sacked Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon called Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez an imbecile. Actress Agot Isidro described President Rodrigo Duterte as a psychopath. In her facebook remark that went viral, the actress said. “I know a psychiatrist who can have you checked. You are more than bipolar, you’re a psychopath.”
Her words, not mine.
Agot Isidro must have gotten inside Digong’s mind because it was not long afterwards that the President himself said he’s in the initial stage of insanity while arch critic Senator Antonio Trillanes was in stage 3.
Was Digong’s admission of initial stage of insanity setting the stage for his defense of bizarre behavior in ranting and raving against perceived enemies? In his latest display of disparaging critics, he called Human Rights Commission chairman Chito Gascon as gay and a pedophile for criticizing alleged extrajudicial killing of young male suspects in the government’s bloody war on drugs.