Press Release
October 12, 2017

Drilon warns major bills to take a backseat due to impeachment case

The passage of the proposed 2018 national budget and the tax reform package could be delayed once the Senate commences the impeachment trial against Chairman Andy Bautista, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Thursday.

"The deliberations on the proposed 2018 national budget and the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act) will have to take a backseat once the Senate begins the impeachment trial against Chairman Andy Bautista," Drilon said.

The Senate has sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment, Drilon said, referring to Section 3 (6) of the Article XI of the Constitution

"The impeachment trial is a constitutional duty that the Senate is bound to perform without any delay. We should give it the highest priority," he said.

Citing Section 3 (4) of the Article XI of the Constitution, Drilon said that "in case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed."

Once the impeachment complaint is transmitted to the Senate, Drilon explained that the Senate would have to immediately constitute itself as an impeachment court to hear the impeachment of Chairman Bautista.

Hence, Drilon said that delay in passing important legislation is "unavoidable".

The Congress is on a session break until November 13, with two critical measures currently pending for the chamber's approval. The proposed P3.77-trillion 2018 national budget is in the period of interpellation, with many controversial items yet to be tackled. The proposed tax reform law, on the other hand, is in the period of amendments, Drilon noted.

"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 concluded.

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