Bautista’s only choice

I don’t know what’s in the mind of Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista. He is now having marital woes such that his wife Patricia has accused him of amassing more than P1 billion in unexplained wealth, among other things.

If he does not tale a leave of absence or resign as his fellow Comelec commissioners are asking him to do, then he will have to face trial at the Senate once he is impeached by the House of Representatives.

That would be a circus, all right!

Trial at the Senate is a purely political exercise. Patricia can even be called to testify against him since the Rules of Court prohibiting spouses from testifying against each other would not apply to impeachment cases.

Andy was the classmate of my son Eric. I would advise him to heed what the other Comelec commissioners want him to do: Take a leave, or resign. And then he would have his day in court.

A very public impeachment trial would be bloody for him. I would not want anybody to go through what the former chief of the Supreme Court did. Renato Corona died a broken man, my gulay!

As it is, Bautista is already a useless entity at the Comelec. He may have supporters there, but he can no longer function as the commission’s chairman, its leader.

Resigning would be for his own good.

There is much at stake here. Already there are questions as to whether the integrity of the 2016 elections may have been compromised. Elections are the bedrock of our democracy.

* * *

There are unconfirmed reports that one big reason why former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo was rejected by the Commission on Appointments was that she diverted some of the funds for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to the New People’s Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines. In turn, the NPA used the money to buy firearms and ammunition to fight government forces.

This report is not new. It is known that some party-list representatives identified with the Left have all these years been diverting their pork barrel funds to the insurgency movement. How else could they have lasted this long?

When President Duterte appointed officials from the Left to his Cabinet, there were a lot of misgivings. While the reports are unconfirmed, we can imagine why the NPA is becoming active again. It appears that they are not just funded by revolutionary taxes, Santa Banana!

* * *

In a previous piece, I said that the killing spree committed by the police, which had about 80 casualties in just a few days, could be the tipping point in the President’s bloody war against drugs.

An almost universal condemnation of the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos has prompted calls for President Duterte to end the killings.

For some time, people have become desensitized to the killing of thousand of drug suspects, all supposedly to rid the country of the drug menace.

Now it seems the people are protesting the indiscriminate killings. We have had enough! We need to convince the President that the war on drugs is not the answer to a simple peace and order problem. It is rooted in poverty and health!

People go into drugs because of poverty. And it is likewise a health issue since those who take drugs are affected psychologically and physiologically.

* * *

I have also said that the most difficult aspect of the war against drugs is the rehabilitation of users.

According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, there are some three million to four-million addicts nationwide. Even when many of them become drug pushers, the President cannot kill them all.

I know this because I used to be vice president of DARE Foundation. It will take more than a column to tell how we at DARE rehabilitated addicts. But it was hard, painstaking work!

Again I say: The drug menace will not end so long as there is demand. The supply will find a way to come in.

* * *

I have been hearing complaints that credit card statements are received by the cardholders late, which in turn delays their payment and makes them subject to penalties. My RCBC Mastercard, for instance, never arrives on time.

Is this intentional or not?

Topics: Emil Jurado , Bautista’s only choice , Commission on Elections , Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista
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