The Senate will only begin with the impeachment proceedings against Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista once the House of Representatives (HOR) transmits the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber, Sen. Chiz Escudero said.
“The Senate will only convene as an impeachment body and the ball will only start rolling when the impeachment articles are already transmitted by HOR to the upper chamber,” Escudero said.
According to Escudero, it is not for Senate to decide yet whether they will proceed with the impeachment trial or not since the articles of impeachment are still with the HOR. Without it, Escudero said, the Senate, as a passive body that only acts on motions, requests and petitions, cannot act on its own.
“Hindi para sa Senado sabihin ngayon na itutuloy namin yan o hindi na namin yan itutuloy dahil nag-resign na siya. Ang bola ay nasa kamay ng Kamara. Kapag finile na nila yung articles of impeachment, saka pa lamang gagalaw, doon pa lamang maa-activate ang Senado bilangimpeachment court,” Escudero said.
The senator also emphasized that although the poll chief had already resigned from his post, which will be effective in December 2017, it would not automatically absolve him of the allegations stated in the impeachment complaint.
Escudero said that the impeachment court might still talk about the “lasting and lingering” effect once convicted: absolute perpetual disqualification to hold public office.
“So maliban sa pagtanggal sayo sa pwesto, hindi ka na rin pwedeng manilbihan sa anumang kapasidad sa kahit anong ahensya ng pamahalaan. Isang dapat na tignan at pag-usapan din ng impeachment court ‘yun na ang pagbibitiw ay isa lamang sa mga aspeto ng conviction kung maco-convict ka. May kaakibat pa ‘yun na absolute perpetual disqualification na mababalewala na kapag sinabi naming ‘pag nagresign ka, tapos na ‘yung kaso,” the senator explained.
It will be recalled that the House justice committee already junked the impeachment complaint against Bautista on October 5, however, the decision was overturned during a plenary vote and impeached the poll chief just hours after he tendered his resignation to the Office of the President on October 11.
Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, said his committee will still continue its investigation on the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Bautista whether or not the impeachment proceedings will push through.