MANILA, Philippines – The House ethics committee decided on Wednesday, March 15, to conduct its own investigation into Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr.’s failure to return to the Philippines after his travel clearance expired.
The House previously allowed Teves to travel to US for medical treatment, but he was supposed to be back home by March 9.
House Speaker Martin Romualdez has repeatedly appealed to Teves to return to the country and face allegations in connection with the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
“Pending submission of the report by the committee on ethics to the plenary, we leave it to the sound discretion of the committee to investigate and recommend imposition of the appropriate disciplinary action,” House Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe said in a statement.
House ethics committee chairman Felimon Espares of party-list group COOP NATCCO said Teves would be given five days to explain his failure to return to the Philippines.
He also enumerated possible courses of action should the committee conclude that Teves committed a violation.
“It could be suspension. Worse, expulsion, then dropping from rolls according to our rule,” he said.
Speaker Romualdez said on Tuesday, March 14, that Teves reached out to him via phone call on Monday, March 13, with the latter expressing fear for his own safety.
“[He said] this is the reason why he refuses to return home at this time,” Romualdez said.
“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 added.
Suspects in Degamo’s killing claimed a certain “Congressman Teves” was the brains behind the gruesome incident.
In March, he was was also slapped with a murder complaint over at least three killings in his province in 2019.
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