Villar’s criminal prosecution possible — Enrile

A “guilty” verdict in the Senate committee of the whole (Scow)’s probe into Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. on the charge of ethical misconduct, does not translate to his expulsion, as he can continue being a lawmaker even if findings and recommendations on him in the committee report surrounding the C-5 controversy are carried by the Senate.

A censure is neither a suspension nor an expulsion of a member of Congress, or more specifically, a Senate member.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said this yesterday, adding, however, that criminal prosecution and imprisonment of Villar is possible, if the case is pursued before the courts.

“He will continue to be a senator. And all we will be saying is ‘don’t engage in this misconduct anymore. Don’t repeat this misconduct. If he continues to do it, the Filipino people will say: ‘Tell your senator colleagues so that they will know that the money that was taken from the budget was used for your project from which you benefited,’” Enrile said in a radio interview yesterday.

Enrile said it will be up for the courts to decide on the fate of Villar, in which jail term is among the possible penalties.

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