MANILA — The camp of slain Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo is considering filing an ethics complaint against Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. over the latter's alleged links to numbers games.
According to Levito Baligod, lawyer of the Degamo family, this is a violation of Section 14 of Article 6 in the 1987 Constitution, which he added could serve as basis to expel Teves from the House of Representatives.
This provision prohibits members of Congress from having direct or indirect financial interests over "any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during his term of office".
"We are contemplating of filing our own ethics complaint case involving the direct or indirect financial interest of Congressman Teves over certain numbers game like the small town lottery and even e-sabong," Baligod told ANC's "Headstart" Thursday.
As corroborative evidence, Baligod said certain politicians in Negros island "will attest that Congressman Teves is operating small town lottery there and even e-sabong".
This is not the first time that Teves was linked to gambling operations in his province.
In 2018, former "jueteng" whistleblower Sandra Cam tagged Teves as an alleged gambling lord during a House hearing into the supposed corruption at Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, where she was then a board member.
Teves, for his part, challenged Cam to resign if she failed to support her allegations with documentary evidence.
"Mayroong kasabihang talk is cheap. Ang dali magparatang ng kahit ano. Pero kung hindi mo mapatunayan, tsismis iyun, hearsay iyun, malamang sinungaling pa iyun," he said.
(There is a saying, 'Talk is cheap.' It is easy to make accusations. But it you cannot prove these, these are just gossip, hearsay, and perhaps lies.)
On Wednesday, Teves was slapped with a 60-day suspension over his continued absence in Congress after being implicated in Degamo's murder.
Some 292 lawmakers voted to adopt a committee report submitted by the House ethics panel recommending the suspension of Teves for disorderly behavior.
Teves has not returned from his unauthorized overseas travel despite orders from House leaders.
According to the committee report, the Negros Oriental lawmaker was not prevented from attending sessions of the House either by sickness or by other unavoidable circumstances.
As Teves' travel clearance has expired, he had no option but to return to the country especially since the Speaker asked him, the ethics panel said.
The same report said Teves' request for extension of his travel clearance was not granted "as he failed to specify the foreign place and the specific period of travel".
The report also said that the lawmaker's camp failed to show proof of threats to his life, which he had cited as basis for not coming back.