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House resets hearing on Comelec budget due to Bautista’s absence

MANILA -- The House of Representatives' appropriations committee on Wednesday deferred its consideration on the proposed PHP16-billion budget of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for 2018 after Comelec chairperson Andres Bautista failed to show up at the hearing.

Comelec executive director Jose Tolentino informed the House panel that Bautista could not attend the agency's budget briefing since he will be meeting with the guidance counselors of his children.

Tolentino said Bautista issued an internal memorandum requesting Comelec senior commissioner Christian Robert Lim or commissioner Al ParreAo to lead the team that will be presenting the agency's budget.

However, the beleaguered Comelec chief failed to give an official communication to the House of Representatives regarding his absence.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman moved to defer the proceeding as he stressed the House rule stating that the head of the agency must be present at the presentation of its proposed budget.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, panel chairman, said he will give Comelec another chance to appear again on Thursday at 9:00 a.m.owever warned that the agency may suffer the consequences if Bautista fails to appear at the next hearing, stressing that Congress has the power of the purse.

However, Nograles warned that the agency may suffer the consequences if Bautista fails to appear at the next hearing, stressing that Congress has the power of the purse.

If the chairman will not show himself then you may suffer the consequences. This is a budget briefing where you are supposed to defend the budget and if the head is not here to defend your budget then there will be consequences, Nograles said.

Bautista faces allegations from his estranged wife Patricia Paz who claimed that the poll body chief has undeclared wealth worth PHP1 billion.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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