MANILA — Defying orders from the House of Representatives can serve as basis for an expulsion of a lawmaker, COOP NATCCO party-list Rep. Felimon Espares said Wednesday.
Espares, chairperson of the House committee on ethics and privileges, made the remark when asked about possible sanctions on Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr.
Teves ignored a Tuesday deadline to appear before the House ethics panel and has yet to return from his overseas trip to face the multiple criminal complaints against him.
"Defying orders is also a basis of expulsion in Congress especially on the behavior or the attitude of our colleagues na hindi sumusunod (who don't obey)," Espares told ANC's "Headstart".
The House ethics panel has wrapped up its investigation after Teves failed to personally face his colleagues and explained his continued absence despite the expiration of his travel authority on March 9.
Teves' fate now rests upon the hands of his colleagues voting as an institution.
"At this time, I am finishing the report to the committee on rules and then submit it and it's up for the committee on rules to act on our report," Espares said.
"If they are going to schedule that for plenary today, so it's up for the committee on rules."
The House is empowered by its own rules and the 1987 Constitution to discipline its members, but a two-thirds vote of all members is required for suspensions and expulsions, and suspensions cannot exceed 60 days.
Teves' lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, has lamented that the House ethics panel did not give his client a chance to explain himself when they did not allow him to attend Monday's hearing via videoconferencing.
Topacio reiterated the threats on the lawmaker's life as the reason why he was a no-show on the hearing.
The lawyer said he would leave it to the lower chamber to decide whatever sanctions his client would face.
But Topacio maintained that Teves could not simply be expelled from his post, as this would disenfranchise his constituents.