Comelec chairman Andres Bautista. INQUIRER / Grig C. Montegrande

Another poll watchdog has urged the chief of the Commission on Elections to consider taking a leave of absence while he faces allegations of amassing unexplained wealth.

The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) supported calls for Comelec chair Andres Bautista to go on leave while the accusations against him are being investigated.

“The least harsh and more prudent action would be to take a leave first while hearings and investigations are conducted,” said Namfrel secretary general Eric Alvia.

Alvia also advised the embattled Bautista to “remain steadfast, cooperate and pray as investigations commence,” adding that “the truth will always prevail.”

The Namfrel secretary general made the remarks amid calls from various sectors for Bautista to take a leave of absence following the allegations from Bautista’s estranged wife, Patricia.

Patricia accused her husband of having unexplained wealth, of having a sex den and having ghost employees at the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

Some sectors have threatened to file an impeachment case against him while others urged him to take a leave of absence amid the controversy.

The poll chief on Friday attended an election congress in the City of Malolos in Bulacan organized by the Comelec regional office in Central Luzon.

Earlier, Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon said she advised the poll chief to “take a leave immediately while he is deciding on his options to resign, or stay and fight.”

Another poll watchdog, Kontra Daya, has also appealed to Bautista to go on leave to ensure the credibility of any investigation that he may face.

The Namfrel said it still has faith in the Comelec as a democratic institution, noting that it is fully capable should the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections push through this year.

“If the barangay and youth elections would push this October, it wouldn’t hamper the preparations as we have six other commissioners and have competent Comelec personnel,” Alvia said.

Alvia also expressed support for a probe into the accusations against Bautista.

The National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Internal Revenue have begun their investigations into claims that Bautista amassed wealth beyond his declared net worth and improperly received commissions.

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