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SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is now the temporary legislative caretaker of the Third District of Negros Oriental.
Romualdez is taking the responsibility of ensuring the interest of the people of the district whose Representative, Arnolfo Teves is suspended allegedly due to his involvement in Governor Roel Degamo murder case.
This was made effective through House of Representative Memorandum Order No. 19-017, dated 23 March 2023, that Speaker Romualdez had issued.
“In the interest of the people of the 3rd District of Negros Oriental, the undersigned shall act as the Legislative Caretaker of the 3rd District of Negros Oriental for the period 23 March 2023 to 22 May 2023. This order takes effect immediately,” the memorandum order signed by Romualdez said.
The leader of the House of Representatives traditionally names caretakers for districts not represented in the chamber due to various reasons, including the appointment to a Cabinet position, suspension, or expulsion of a member.
The House is currently on its Lenten Break until May 7, 2023.
By virtue of the order, Speaker Romualdez will act as temporary caretaker of the district for the entire period coinciding with the duration of the 60-day suspension the House of Representatives has imposed on March 23 against Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” A. Teves for misconduct.
Just recently, the House committee on ethics and privileges had recommended the suspension of Teves for 60 days after he failed to heed to the order of the House to return home.
Teves travel authority has expired since March 9 and he continued to refuse going back insisting his safety is unclear. He was last reported to be in the United States for supposed medical treatment.
The Ethics panel said the representative’s stay “abroad with expired travel clearance and his continued defiance to the orders of the House and the Committee to return to the country and perform his duties as a House member constitute disorderly behavior affecting the dignity, integrity, and reputation of the House of Representatives, which warrant disciplinary action.”
The Committee said Teves failed to observe the norms of conduct and ethical standards expected of public officials, and his “misconduct has adversely affected the dignity, integrity, and reputation of his public office and that of the House of Representatives as an institution.”
Speaker Romualdez has repeatedly pleaded with the Negros Oriental lawmaker to fly home so he could attend to his job and at the same time face the accusations against him, assuring him that he would be accorded justice and fairness.
No less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. himself has assured Teves of his.