MANILA (UPDATED) — House Speaker Martin Romualdez on Tuesday revealed that Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves has gotten in touch with him and expressed fears for his and his family's safety.
Teves, who is fighting allegations of involvement in the killings of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, got in touch with Romualdez "through a phone call last night from an undetermined location," the House leader said.
"He expressed fear for the safety of his person and his family, saying this is the reason why he refuses to return home at this time," Romualdez said.
The House chief assured Teves of his safety.
"I assured him that the Speaker, as the political and administrative leader of the House of Representatives, will exert all efforts to ensure the personal safety of all Members. In fact, I have ordered the House Sergeant-at-Arms to coordinate with law enforcement agencies and prepare appropriate security arrangements for his return," Romualdez said.
Romualdez however reiterated his advice that the lawmaker come back.
"Pero inulit ko rin kay Cong. Arnie, he needs to go home and report for work immediately as he no longer has the authority to travel outside the country. Gusto rin naming marinig sa Kongreso ang panig niya. Kung may kaso man siyang kailangang harapin, dapat niya itong harapin. Dito sa loob ng bansa, at hindi sa labas," Romualdez said.
(We also want to hear his side. If there is a case against him, he should face it here in the country, and not from overseas.)
A suspect has implicated Teves in Degamo's killing.
The lawmaker earlier said he received information that he would be pinned down for the assassination. He said he and his clan had nothing to do with the killing.
The lawmaker's brother, Pryde Henry Teves, was unseated by Degamo after the Supreme Court declared him last month the rightful winner of the contest for the Negros Oriental governorship.
The police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) last week filed murder complaints against Rep. Teves and several others for the death of 3 people in 2019.
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Public Order and Safety has deferred its planned investigation on the killing of Degamo, panel chairperson Sta. Rosa Rep. Dan Fernandez told the media.
According to Fernandez, the investigation was put on hold in deference to the investigation of law enforcement agencies.
Fernandez did not specify when the hearing would push through.
Last week, House Resolution 825 was filed by Representatives Jefferson Khonghun, Sancho Fernando Oaminal, Marie Bernadette Escudero, Francisco Paolo Ortega and Midy Cua.
"To put a stop on such unfortunate killings and attacks on politicians, a thorough probe on the surrounding circumstances and motives of the gunmen must be established," the resolution read.
"Extra security must be put into practice by the local government police in order not to hinder the continuity of government services, making the public officials free from unnecessary fear and apprehensions of danger that might affect their personal lives," it added.