Senate may consider Bautista impeach rap ‘moot’: Angara

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 14 2017 11:19 PM | Updated as of Oct 15 2017 12:08 AM

MANILA—Sonny Angara on Saturday said some of his fellow senators may consider the impeachment complaint filed against outgoing Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista as "moot."

"I can't speak for my colleagues right now but I think magiging moot for a lot of us," Angara told radio DZMM.

"Tingin ko rin, as a practical matter, ayaw na rin ng mga senador na kumbaga mapunta doon. Kung mag-resign siya, tingin ko most senators will say, 'Huwag na natin ituloy iyong hearing.' "

Angara, who was a prosecution spokesman in the impeachment case of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, said an impeachment hearing is an "extraordinary process" that should not be used often.

"Let’s not forget na iyong impeachment talagang nasa Saligang Batas iyan. Having said that, it’s an extraordinary process. Hindi dapat palaging ginagamit iyan. Kaya nga it can only be exercised once a year against a given official," he said.

"Kung sinabay natin . . . hindi tayo matatapos sa loob ng isang taon. You have 3 officials. Si Ombudsman (Conchita Carpio) Morales, her term is already expiring next year so as a practical matter baka ma-overtake na iyon by events," he added.

Bautista was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, just hours after announcing his resignation by the end of the year.

The Senate will start Bautista's impeachment trials once it receives the articles of impeachment from the lower chamber. However, the Congress has adjourned and will resume session on November 13.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III earlier said the Senate would no longer pursue hearing the complaint against Bautista if he has already left his post by the time impeachment proceedings begin.

Should the impeachment trials proceed against Bautista and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the Senate will tackle these along with the tax reform bill and the 2018 national budget.

"Sa isang araw may TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) ka, may budget ka, may impeachment ka. So nabawasan ka ng oras kumbaga para idebate iyon. Alam ko prayoridad iyan ng administrasyon, lahat iyan," Angara said.

Bautista is facing an impeachment complaint stemming from allegations that he amassed about P1 billion in unexplained wealth, which was made public by his estranged wife. 

Sereno currently faces an impeachment complaint for allegedly failing to declare her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth truthfully, purchasing a P5.1-million car and other “extravagant” vehicles, and embellishing her personal data sheets among others.

Meanwhile, three impeachment complaints are set to be filed against Morales.