MANILA - Major bills pending at the Senate may have to take a backseat once the impeachment trial of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista begins, minority floor leader Franklin Drilon said Thursday.
Among these bills, said Drilon, are the proposed P3.77-trillion national budget for 2018 and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, which are already up for deliberation.
"Our calendar is too tight and the impeachment case will eat up a lot of our time when we resume session in November. Legislative work will be seriously affected and that is a matter that the leadership should highly consider," Drilon said.
A total of 137 lawmakers at the House of Representatives voted to impeach Bautista yesterday, overturning the justice committee's dismissal of the complaint against him due to defective verification.
The Committee on Justice was directed to prepare the articles of impeachment for transmittal to the Senate, which has the sole power to try and decide on all cases of impeachment.
Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said they will find time for the impeachment trial because they are mandated to act on it. He said senators will have to go to work on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays if the proceedings push through.
Pimentel said if the trial extends past December 31, when Bautista's resignation takes effect, the impeachment trial will immediately stop.
"Stop na 'yun. Kasi ang aim ng impeachment ay alisin siya sa position. Kung wala na siya sa posisyon wala nang dahilan para magtuloy [ng trial]," he said.