MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the resignation of Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista.
Duterte said he agreed with the move of Bautista to leave the poll body, adding it would be better if he leaves as soon as possible.
“Nagtaka ako. I think it was the other day, meron siyang resignation. Mukhang pinirmahan ko kasi mas mabuti ‘yung maalis siya diyan,” Duterte said in a recorded interview aired on state-run television Friday evening.
In his resignation letter, Bautista told the President he will step down by the end of the year to give the chief executive ample time to find his replacement.
Bautista announced Wednesday that he would resign by the end of the year amid allegations he had amassed around P1 billion in unexplained wealth made public by his estranged wife Patricia.
Hours later, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, becoming the first official under the Duterte administration to be ousted.
The President said he was surprised to learn that the House of Representatives plenary overturned the decision of the chamber’s justice committee to junk the impeachment complaint against the poll chief.
He said he had nothing to do with the move to revive the impeachment case against Bautista.
“I don’t know if you can still impeach him or not because by resigning, he has removed himself,” Duterte said.
“Pero nobody but nobody, not even Speaker [Pantaleon] Alvarez or anybody close to me na tumawag na you are resuming the impeachment process.”
Both Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III have said the impeachment process may no longer proceed if Bautista will step down now and no longer wait for the end of the year.
Bautista was appointed Comelec chairman by then president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III in 2015. Bautista's term was supposed to expire in 2022.