President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday, Oct. 13, said he may have already signed, by way of accepting, the resignation letter of Commission on Elections Chairperson Andres D. Bautista.

“Nagtaka ako I think it was the other day meron siyang resignation, mukhang pinirmahan ko kasi mas mabuting maalis siya dyan,” he said during an interview on state-run PTV-4.

(I wondered, I think it was the other day, he had his resignation. I think I signed it because it would be better if he leaves.)

He also said, regarding Mr. Bautista’s impeachment: “I don’t know if you can still impeach him or not because by resigning, he has removed himself.”

Mr. Bautista, on Oct. 11 filed his resignation before the Office of the President citing “personal reasons” for his leaving, effective December 31. Later that day, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr. Bautista, rejecting a committee’s dismissal of an impeachment complaint against him.

“Ang problema may dumating na resignation before itong impeachment, so dalawang resignation yun, tingin ko. Pero di ko naman alam na may resumption. Basta ang tingin ko, the earlier na mawala ito, the better, that was on my mind. Eh di mas maayos,” Mr. Duterte said.

(The problem is there was a resignation filed before the impeachment, so it means two resignations, I think. But, I didn’t have any idea of the resumption [of impeachment proceedings against Mr. Bautista]. What I think is, the earlier he’s gone [from office], the better. That was on my mind. It would be better.)

The impeachment complaint against Mr. Bautista was filed by former Negros Oriental representative Jacinto Paras with lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Manuelito, on the grounds of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution, for his alleged failure to declare his true wealth in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), as well as alleged graft and corruption.

Also on Friday, Lorna P. Kapunan, counsel of Mr. Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia, said when sought for comment by reporters: “The impeachment will only remove him from his position. Criminal cases have to be filed against him, his mother, sister, brother, Atty. Divina, Smartmatic, Luzon Development Bank, etc. for plunder, bribery, graft and corruption, money laundering , recovery by the Gov’t of ill-gotten wealth and tax evasion.”

“We are waiting (for) the report of the NBI on the evidence Patricia turned over to them”, Mrs. Kapunan, the lawyer of Mrs. Bautista added. — Rosemarie A. Zamora and Andrea Louise E. San Juan