MANILA — The petition of slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo's widow to expel Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Jr. from his congressional seat has been referred to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, an official said Monday.
Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo sought Teves' expulsion through a letter to the House last week.
"We referred it to the committee in charge, the Committee on Ethics and they will have to decide what to do with the petition kasi sila nga yung may jurisdiction dito," said House Secretary General Reginald Velasco.
Congress is on a break and will convene by May 8. Until then, "committees will continue to work," Velasco noted.
"The Committee on Ethics can meet to consider this petition or letter of Mayor Janice Degamo," he told reporters.
The committee is expected to submit its findings and recommendations to the plenary after the 6-week congressional break, Velasco added.
The suspended lawmaker's camp declined to comment on this recent development.
Last week, Velasco said Mayor Degamo's letter referred mostly to issues in Negros Oriental local politics which other authorities were already investigating.
He said the letter had no bearing on the ongoing 60-day suspension of the lawmaker.
"It won't affect kasi that has been decided upon by the committee on ethics and the plenary on March 22 so wala walang epekto yang letter ni Mayor Janice Degamo," Velasco said.
The 1987 Constitution and the House Rules requires a two-thirds vote of all congressmen before any of them could be expelled.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Martin Romualdez is expected to name a caretaker for Teves' district.
"By practice kasi the suspension does not affect the office nor the service to the district the constituents of this district so we will, the Speaker will decide on who will be the caretaker... Hopefully, in the next few days we'll have a decision [on] who will be the caretaker of the district of Cong. Arnie Teves during the time of his suspension," Velasco said.
A total of 292 lawmakers voted to adopt the Committee on Ethics and Privileges Committee Report 472 recommending a Teves' suspension for his unauthorized overseas travel as he fought allegations linking him to the death of Governor Degamo.