February 29, 2024

House Ethics Committee to recommend tougher penalty vs Teves

By Jun Talusan

THE House Committee on Ethics has decided to recommend stiffer disciplinary action against suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr.

House panel chairperson Felimon Espares said that Teves is already violating some House rules with his continued absence and expired travel authority.

 “The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges unanimously decided to recommend to the plenary the imposition of a stiffer disciplinary action to our colleague, Arnolfo Teves, Jr., for violation of the rules of the House of Representatives, particularly Rule 20, Section 142 Substitute A and B of the Code of Conduct and for disorderly behavior,” Espares said.

 He said they exhausted discussions because it is not an easy decision for the Committee and they need to ensure the protection of the members of the House of Representatives.

Teves was tagged as the alleged  mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and nine others on March 4.

 Earlier, the House has ordered a 60-day suspension against Teves for violating House rules and disorderly conduct after he refused to come home.

 The  Department of Justice filed murder and other related complaints against Teves over Degamo’s slaying and other killings in the lawmaker’s home province, but Teves maintained that such charges are not true and are politically- motivated.

Espares  said fresh and stiffer sanctions against Teves could be decided before Congress’ session adjourns sine die on May 31.    

“If we can submit this recommendation by tomorrow…it’s up for the House committee on Rules on when they will put this on agenda for plenary action. I do, however, take note, that we only have two days left before the sine die break,” he said.

Meanwhile, House Ethics panel vice chairperson Raul Bongalon said stiffer sanctions would include expulsion and any other penalty that the committee may determine.

Asked what makes Teves’ case so compelling that could merit stiffer sanctions, Bongalon said his embattled colleague’s defiance did him in.     

“I am not saying that expulsion will be recommended, but this case is entirely different because this started with an expired travel clearance, then the controversy he is facing because of the murder of Gov. Degamo. Despite the call of the House leadership, from the very first suspension, there was continuous defiance on his part,” he said. 

“We took action because the committee cannot be labeled as consenting to this disorderly behavior,” he added.

Prior to the announcement of the panel, Teves pleaded to his colleagues to decide his fate following the law and their hearts.

“Ang pakiusap ko sa aking mga kasamahan sa Kongreso, bumoto tayo sa naaayon sa batas at naaayon sa ating puso. It should be a real collegial decision, hindi decision na galing lang sa mando ng iisa. Ibig ko sabihin, baka bumoto lang dahil siyempre, baka mawalan ka ng budget, baka mawalan ka ng ganto pag sumuway ka,”  Teves said in an online news hearing.