Teves faces House ethics probe, risks expulsion for continued absence

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2023 02:51 PM | Updated as of Mar 15 2023 09:18 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) — The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges has acquired jurisdiction over the matter of the expired travel authority of Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., with the embattled solon given 5 days to explain his side, its chairman said Wednesday.

After holding a closed-door meeting, the committee's chair COOP NATCCO Party-list Rep. Felimon Espares told reporters that the panel would limit itself to the matter of Teves' expired travel authority only.

Teves has said he learned he could be tagged in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo early this month. He said neither he nor his brother would gain from Degamo's death.

Degamo unseated Henry Teves as Negros Oriental governor months after the May 2022 elections after the Commission on Elections nullified the latter's victory. 

The House of Representatives earlier announced through its website that the panel would convene Wednesday to tackle Teves' absence without leave in the chamber and without appropriate travel authority.

Espares said members of the House must attend sessions.

"Di naman natin i-tolerate itong may mga ganitong nangyari na defiance ng order, or dapat mag-attend talaga, so ganun lang," he said.

"Alam naman natin na open naman yan sa media na pinapauwi. So kung wala talagang ano dahilan na bakit hindi siya makauwi, so bakit hanggang ngayon wala pa?" he added.

Ethics committee proceedings are usually held behind closed doors. Depending on the decision of the members, the panel can recommend the suspension, expulsion or dropping of members from the rolls.

"Options dito of course, we are on the administrative aspect to really recommend whatever disciplinary actions....Usually, ganun naman. Suspension. Pero kung come to worse, so the House, according to our rule, may expulsion at saka dropping from rolls," Espares said.

He said the panel will adhere to due process, and the committee will inform the respondent of its decision.

"It depends with the decision of the committee after the way we will process and inform the respondent or whatsoever," he said.

The lawmaker explained that the meeting was called upon the initiative of the members of the 17-man panel.

He was not categorical in his reply when asked if the meeting was called upon Speaker Martin Romualdez's instructions.

Teves earlier said he delayed his homecoming because of concerns for his own safety.


Meanwhile, TGP Party-list Rep. Jose Bong Teves Jr. appealed to the media to use his full name when reporting about him to avoid confusion with the embattled Negros Oriental solon.

In a privileged speech Wednesday, the Bicolano Teves explained that his family "has suffered" as constant references to his surname have supposedly led people to believe that he is related to Arnolfo Jr., which was not the case.

"Mr Speaker, even if we have the same surname or family name Teves, I would like to state that we came from different provinces... Ako po si Cong. Jose Bong Joson Teves, Jr. ng TGP Party List na tubong Catanduanes, Region 5, Bicol. Naging vice governor ako ng probinsiya ng Catanduanes at naging mayor ng Baras, Catanduanes, Region 5, Bicol," he said.

"I call on every media outlet in the Philippines, especially those covering and broadcasting through radio, television, social media, newspaper on the Degamo case, to be more responsible and careful na kapag sila ay gumagawa ng balita, o headlines ay ilinaw po nila ng buong pangalan ng nasasangkot sa kaso dahil may iba pong pamilyang Teves na galing sa ibang lugar na wala naman pong alam sa kasong ito," he added.


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