Romualdez says he hasn’t heard from Teves, reiterates call for solon to report to work
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has not heard from Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. since the former appealed for the lawmaker to return to work after a medical trip to the United States (US).
Romualdez said this in a statement on Monday after Teves’ lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said that they are reaching out to the Office of the Speaker to relay a message from the solon. However, Romualdez urged Teves to heed his appeal to return to the country, where local authorities could secure him.
Teves has been accused of masterminding the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, who died after armed men barged into his place in Pamplona town last March 4.
“I have yet to receive any communication from Cong. Arnie, since I appealed to him to return home,” Romualdez said.
“I expect Cong. Arnie heed my appeal and report for work as soon as possible. His stay outside the country is no longer authorized by the House of Representatives,” he added.
Earlier, Topacio said they are trying to reach out to Romualdez’s office as Teves only has information for the Speaker’s ears. He also said the lawmaker wants to extend his US stay until April 9.
According to Romualdez, Philippine National Police (PNP) officials have already vowed to provide security to Teves should he return from the US. However, the Speaker clarified that the assurance could not be extended outside the Philippines.
“Nagsalita na ang mga opisyal ng PNP (The PNP officials have spoken). They are willing to provide security to protect him from bodily harm. All Cong. Arnie needs to do is make the appropriate request. Our law enforcers cannot extend this protection outside the Philippines,” he noted.
The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) – Degamo tagged Teves as the brains behind the attack on Degamo, also several of the suspects arrested pointed to a certain “Congressman Teves” as the mastermind.
Teves had denied accusations against him — including claims that he was behind a series of killings in the province last 2019. As for the allegations against his client, Topacio urged calm, saying that his client will face them when the time is suitable as a member of Congress.