By: Elena Grace Flores
President Du30’s newly appointed Comelec Chairman to replace Andres Bautista, Sheriff Abass was previously a Commissioner of the Commission on Election as per the appointment made by the former President Benigno Aquino III. Abas is the nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. Iqbal was under Bongbong Marcos’ scrutiny over his non-disclosure of his real name that was also a factor of the BBL halt.
[VIDEO]: Sen. Bongbong Marcos says Iqbal alias will affect BBL
President Rodrigo Du30 appoints Commission on Elections commissioner Sheriff Abas as the new Comelec chairman. He replaces the controversial Andres Bautista. Abas’ appointment papers were signed on Wednesday, November 22. He will serve until February 2, 2022, which is Bautista’s remaining term.
Serving the Government All his Professional Life
A law professor, Abas worked as acting assistant regional director of the Civil Service Commission in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. This was until his appointment to the Comelec. He worked at the CSC from June 2007 until April 2015.
Appointee of Both Governments
Abas replaces Bautista who resigned and directed to make his resignation effective immediately by the President last October. Many Marcos loyalists’ eyebrows can raise on the fact that he was an Aquino appointee. Nevertheless, he is also an appointee of Du30 now. That should balance his loyalty.
As a Comelec commissioner, he headed the packing and shipping committee. He should have full knowledge of how the handling and moving of the ballots from Bongbong Marcos’ key cities can be done effectively and safely for the electoral protest against Leni Robredo. Given his professional and personal affiliations, Marcos’ call for recount is the biggest test for his unbiased decision.
Bongbong Marcos’ spokesman Atty. Vic Rodriguez said that after18 long months, the Supreme Court may have finally noticed VP Leni Robredo’s ploy to “hold up the proceedings,” The PET recently ordered the exploratory teams to start locating the ballot boxes in the clustered precincts of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental. So that it could order its retrieval and transfer to Manila for the recount. This is covered recently in the discussion between Marcos and Erwin Tulfo.
[VIDEO]: ERWIN TULFO AND BONGBONG MARCOS, TALK ABOUT THE ELECTORAL PROTEST AND THE DU30 ADMINISTRATION!
Supreme Court’s Order
In a resolution dated October 10, the PET ordered the members of the Exploratory and Retrieval Team to go to Camarines Sur. This is scheduled either on October 16 to 20 or from October 23 to 27. The purpose is to locate all the ballot boxes and map out the logistics needed for their retrieval and transportation to the Supreme Court compound in Manila. This is where the revision and recount of votes will take place.
Robredo’s Holding Up Election Protest
Rodriguez explained that, in the last year and a half, Robredo’s camp questions Marcos’s efforts to expedite the resolution of his election protest. Even his move for technical examination and evaluation of the Election Day Computerized Voters’ List of the three Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao provinces is under scrutiny. That is the subject of a separate cause of action.
Win or Lose
Bongbong Marcos laments that under international standard, the electoral protest already takes a very long time. The process is slow and he is suspicious of the outgoing COMELEC Chair’s actions. Win or lose, the PET should resolve this immediately. He discloses that an upcoming bidding is about to happen for the 2019 elections. Perhaps, Bautista wants to influence the future elections before his resignation becomes effective. He is grateful to some Congressmen like Gwen Garcia of Cebu who insists to impeach him if he stays until the end of the year. Good thing that the President let him resign effective immediately. So, impeachment is not anymore necessary.
Still Confident and Happy with the Progress
Bongbong Marcos replied to Tulfo on his inquiry if he thinks that he can surely win without the Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Naturally, as an anti-Marcos, she has the tendency to block any ruling in his favor but hopes that she can be diplomatic about it. Meanwhile, his lawyer said added; “We are glad that the case is finally moving forward because each step forward is a step closer to the truth.”
COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista thinks that to impeach him is unnecessary because he already tendered his resignation to the President. However, it is effective only at the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition, he said. He will, however, abide by the Constitution and the relevant rules regarding the impeachment process,” he added. Bongbong Marcos’ election protest against VP Leni Robredo is about to start this October but such incidents can cause further delays. Nonetheless, the Marcos Camp welcomes the development as it addresses the attempt to bury some truths about the 2016 automated election anomalies.
[VIDEO]: Uumpisahan na ngayong Oktubre ang recount ng mga balota kaugnay nang protesta ni dating Senator Bongbong Marcos laban sa pagkapanalo ni Vice President Leni Robredo sa nakaraang eleksyon.
Pro-Administration Solons’ Counter Attack
The pro-administration lawmakers and social media practitioners’ democratic movements are counter-acting the government’s enemies. Most of them agree that the Du30-Marcos tandem can eventually stop any destabilization efforts. One move is evident. Cebu Representative Gwen Garcia insists that the election fiasco is a major allegation. The COMELEC Chair must not escape from that by just resigning.
Still Waiting for Recount Date
The COMELEC’s logistics, schedule and estimated costs relative to the Decryption and Printing of Ballot Images for Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental are not yet ready. Its compliance with the PET’s Show Cause Order by 18 September 2017 has been extended twice. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the recount date which is dependent on the COMELEC’s progress.
Marcos manifests on his list of witnesses for Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao. He also identifies the corresponding clustered precincts of these witnesses as required. The Supreme Court, however, grants the decryption of the Secure Digital (SD) cards relative to the 751 pilot protested precincts of Francis Tolentino. His long list of witnesses is also ready.
Robredo Camp’s Election Reaction
Former Senator Marcos is still confident to finally get his post by the end of this year. VP Leni Robredo’s Camp doesn’t have any idea where Marcos gets his confidence. They refer to it as mind-conditioning efforts. They also claimed that the double impeachment cases against the COMELEC Chair and the Supreme Court Chief Justice are part of the plan to allegedly steal the Vice Presidency from VP Leni Robredo.
Some media’s misleading headline that reads; “Bautista Welcomes his Impeachment Dismissal” or something in that context created a bit of stir for a while. More news clarifies that only the correction plea got dismissed. In fact, his estranged wife, Patricia Bautista’s testimonial is set at the hearing. Whatever the outcome is, COMELEC Chief, Andres Bautista’s case is not any more relevant to Bongbong Marcos’ recount bid. This is because the first course of action that questions the integrity of 2016 automated election is already cleared out by the PET for the immediate recount to take place. The second course of action in Marcos’ electoral protest against VP Leni Robredo is about to begin.
[VIDEO]: Bongbong Marcos says that he has nothing to do with the corruption allegations raised by the wife of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista.
First Course of Action Out
In a resolution dated August 29, the PET junked Marcos’ first cause of action for being “meaningless and pointless.” The tribunal said that “allowing the first cause of action and the annulment of the proclamation to continue would be an exercise in futility and would have no practical effect.” The PET then ruled that immediate recount must be prioritized in the selected pilot provinces which Marcos welcomed.
Impeachment Correction Denied
The House rejects the motion to admit a substitute impeachment complaint. It seeks to correct the verification errors of the first one filed against Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson Andres Bautista. The committee just tackles the first impeachment complaint against Bautista if it is sufficient in form and substance. At least 27 members voted against the motion for substitution, while only two members voted in support of the motion to admit the substitute verification.
Bautista’s Wife to Attest for Truth
The estranged wife of Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista attends the poll chief’s impeachment hearing at the House of Representatives to “attest to the truth.” Patricia Bautista earlier said that she would be attesting to the authenticity of the impeachment case filed by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio and former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras against her husband.
Recount Bid Belongs to the 2nd Course
Bongbong Marcos vehemently denies that he’s got something to do with Mrs. Bautista’s squeals against her own husband. He also assures the press that he and his wife won’t meddle with marital affairs. However, Marcos believes that the estranged wife’s testimony must be heard after she signs an affidavit on that regard. No matter how the COMELEC Chair’s case develops, that has no effect anymore on his protest. The PET has already ruled that the VP Post issue is to be resolved only through the recount.
An impeachment complaint is already filed against the Commission on Elections chairperson Andres Bautista. This is on the ground of the betrayal of public trust. Plus the culpable violation of the Constitution over allegations of ill-gotten wealth. This development clears the way for the recount required on Bongbong Marcos’ election protest which is on the second part.
Youtube video by; GMA News
[VIDEO]: Andres Bautista, sinampahan ng reklamong impeachment dahil sa betrayal of public trust.
Former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras with his lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Manuelito Luna filed the impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives’ Secretary General’s office against Bautista. Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia, Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque, and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino endorsed the impeachment complaint. It fulfills the first requirement for an impeachment complaint to be duly endorsed by a member of the lower House.
Bautista faced an impeachment complaint about betrayal of public trust and culpable violations of the Constitution for not declaring his true wealth in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities Networth (SALN). Graft and corruption for allegedly receiving commissions from Divina Law Offices, the legal counsel of Venezuelan election technology supplier and Comelec’s biggest contractor Smartmatic are also featured.
Doubts on the Automated Election
Cebu Representative Gwen Garcia said that she decides to endorse the complaint to clear out all speculations since the wife presented to the media passbooks which showed Bautista’s undeclared wealth. The allegations against Bautista cast doubt on the credibility of the recently concluded 2016 elections, she said. “Personally, I have always had serious doubts about the automated voting systems. I think it’s the right time now to see and check on the veracity as well as the credibility of the automated voting system, as evidenced by this very, very controversial happening,” Garcia added.
On to the Recount
Leni Robredo’s Camp always used the first part of Bongbong Marcos’ election protest as the cause for the recount delay. They said that the second part can only start after the first part is resolved. This is about the credibility of the digital election process in 2016. Now that the COMELEC Chair already faces an impeachment complaint after the evidence presented by his estranged wife, the recount must start immediately to satisfy public interest.