MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Thursday that the impeachment trial against election chief Andres Bautista need not push through at the Senate if he makes his resignation effective immediately instead of by year-end.
"Mag-resign siya ngayong araw na ito, effective today para wala na kaming ii-impeach. As of yesterday, as of today, siya pa rin ang sitting Comelec chairman so mayroon pa rin kaming ii-impeach na official," Alvarez said in a DZMM interview.
"Halimbawa, nag-resign siya today or tomorrow, hindi na aabot sa Senado iyan dahil wala nang ii-impeach, wala nang ita-try."
(He should resign effective today so that we would no longer have anyone to impeach. As of yesterday, as of today, he is still the sitting Comelec chief so we still have an official to impeach. For instance, if he resigns today or tomorrow, the case would no longer reach the Senate because there would be no one to impeach.)
Bautista announced Wednesday that he has tendered his resignation effective December 31, 2017.
Hours later, the House plenary voted to impeach the poll chief, rejecting a recommendation of the justice committee to dismiss the impeachment complaint against Bautista due to insufficiency in form.
Alvarez said the impeachment trial could open a can of worms as there is enough documentary evidence against the elections chief.
The case is largely based on allegations made by Bautista's wife Patricia that the poll chief kept some P1 billion in undeclared assets. Bautista has denied any wrongdoing.
In an interview with DZMM, Bautista rejected Alvarez' suggestion, saying he is is leaving it up to President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on his resignation.
Bautista also wrote on Twitter that he "will abide by the Constitution and the relevant rules regarding the impeachment process."