MANILA -- A senator on Thursday said the Senate can only act on impeachment proceedings against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista once the House of Representatives (House) transmits the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber.
“Magco-convene lamang kami once ma-file iyong articles of impeachment (We will only convene once the House files the articles of impeachment),” Senator Francis Escudero said in a Kapihan press conference.
“Ang bola ay nasa kamay ng Kamara de Representantes (The ball is in the House of Representatives’ court). Any court, including an impeachment court, is a passive body,” he added.
Escudero said the Senate had not yet received the articles of impeachment so, technically, it could not yet act as an impeachment court.
“The Senate should act as an impeachment court already and as a passive body. We act only on motions and requests and petitions of the parties. Which hasn’t even come into play, haven't even come into play principally,” Escudero said.
Escudero recalled that during the impeachment proceedings of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012, it took some two to three weeks before the articles of impeachment were transmitted to the Senate.
Meanwhile, he questioned Bautista’s move to submit his resignation to President Rodrigo Duterte instead of the Comelec en banc. “Bagaman Pangulo ang nag-appoint, hindi si Pangulong Duterte, yung nakaraang Pangulo ang nag-appoint sa kanya. Dapat copy furnish pero ang kanyang pagbibitiw dapat sa Comelec en banc (Even if it is the President who appointed him, President Duterte was not the president who appointed him. His resignation should be submitted to the Comelec en banc),” Escudero said.
Despite Bautista’s resignation effective December this year, Escudero pointed out that the impeachment court might still disqualify him from holding public office.
“May isa pang lasting at lingering na epekto ang impeachment kapag na convict ka (There is one more lasting and lingering effect of being impeached, if you are convicted) which is absolute perpetual disqualification to hold public office,” Escudero said.
Bautista earlier tendered his resignation, the same day the House of Representatives (House) announced their decision to impeach him on October 11. (PNA)