House body on ethics reaches decision on Teves continued absence

March 21, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 185 views

THE House committee on ethics and privileges on Tuesday ended its motu probe on the continued absence without official leave of Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves and reached a decision that will be deliberated in the plenary session this Wednesday.

But COOP-NATCCO Party-list Rep. Felimon Espares, panel chairman, told reporters in a press briefing that his committee is barred by the House rules from revealing the action taken by the committee on Teves case until after its submission to the plenary.

“The committee has reached a conclusion by a unanimous voting and we will transmit and submit our report at once and recommendation to the plenary for appropriate action,” Espares said after his panel held a closed-door meeting on Teves who has been implicated in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others.

“In compliance with our committee rules of procedures, however the committee is not at liberty to disclose to the public the content of our report and recommendations pending our submission and deliberation in the plenary,” Espares explained. “Ibig sabihin, bukas (Wednesday) pa natin malalaman once our report and recommendation is accepted and will be discussed and to be acted by the members of the House during our plenary tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Espares also said that “we just concluded our investigation on motu proprio on the failure of Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves to return to the country and report for work in the House of Representatives after the expiration of his travel authority last March 9, 2023.”

He said the committee has given “our colleagues, Rep. Teves enough time to comply with the direct order from the speaker of the house to report for work at once.”

“We also gave him ample time to appear in person before the committee and explain to the House members the valid reason for his unauthorized absence from duty. Further, we also gave him another chance to appear to the committee within 24 hours starting yesterday (Monday), March 20, 2023,” he said.

“The continuing failure of Rep. Arnie Teves to heed the committee order to appear before the panel leaves us no choice but to wrap up the investigation in his case without his valid explanation,” Espares added.

For his part, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said it is up to House members to decide on the case of Teves after “the chairman of the House committee on ethics and privileges, Rep. Felimon Espares, informed me that the panel has reached a decision on the case involving Rep. Arnie Teves after a closed-door meeting held today (Tuesday).”

“The decision on Cong. Arnie’s case now lies at the hands of his fellow House Members, voting as an institution. I was informed that the Ethics Committee is ready submit its report and recommendation for plenary action,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez assured that the House of Representatives will render its decision on this case by observing due process and fully cognizant of Cong. Arnie’s rights, “but with the best interest of the nation in mind.”

“I have, time and again, asked Cong. Arnie to come home after the expiration of his travel authority last March 9. The last time we spoke over the phone, I personally relayed my instruction for him to return to the country at once. I assured him that the Speaker and the House of Representatives will exert all possible means to secure his personal safety as soon as he lands back home,” Romualdez said.

“Kinikilala at nirerespeto po natin ang lahat ng karapatan ni Cong. Arnie bilang House Member. Kaya naman binigyan natin siya ng pagkakataon para umuwi at linawin ang lahat ng isyung kinakaharap niya ngayon.”

“I commend the Chairman and the committee members for acting expeditiously on the case, in consonance with the Committee’s mandate and in compliance with the Rules of the House to punish its Members for disorderly behavior,” he said.