Dela Rosa: I’ll let Teves, Degamo’s wife talk ’til it gets out of control
MANILA, Philippines — The wife of the murdered governor Roel Degamo and suspended 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. could get a chance to talk things out – but only to a certain extent, according to Senator Ronald dela Rosa.
In an interview with reporters, the senator said that the two parties could confront each other, but only if they communicate through him as chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
The panel will have a hearing on April 17th (Monday) about the murder of Degamo and other people in the province. Mayor Janice Degamo, wife of Degamo, will be physically present, and accused mastermind Teves will attend online.
“To a certain degree (I will allow) pero lahat ng kanilang komunikasyon, lahat ng kanilang sasabihin has to be addressed to me, ‘yong kanilang mga tanong ay idadaan nila sa chairman, kasi ako naman ang magpe-preside ‘di ba? So dadaan sa akin, then we will see, we will allow to some degree, to some extent, ‘yong sagutan nila,” Dela Rosa said.
(To some degree, exchanges are allowed. However, all discussions and statements must be directed towards me and any questions should be directed towards the chairman, as I will be presiding over the hearing.)
As to how they expect Teves to behave, Dela Rosa reiterated that the Negros Oriental lawmaker is still a member of the House of Representatives despite his suspension, and interparliamentary courtesy would be given to him.
“We expect him to behave properly at nirerespeto naman natin ‘yong kanyang pagiging member ng lower house, kahit na suspendido siya, still, elected official pa rin siya. So nandyan pa rin ‘yong interparliamentary courtesy na ia-afford natin sa kanya,” the senator said.
(We expect him to behave appropriately, and we respect his status as a lower house member. Even if he is suspended, he is still an elected official. So interparliamentary courtesy will be afforded to him.)
“‘Wag lang syang maging unruly, dahil hindi ko rin naman siya ma-cite for contempt dahil hindi naman siya maaresto dahil nasa ibang naman bansa siya, so the worst we can do is i-off ‘yong kanyang camera o telepono kung maging unruly siya, pero I think that will not happen dahil alam kong magrerespeto siya sa committee natin,” he added.
(As long as he does not become unruly, I cannot cite him for contempt because he cannot be arrested as he is outside the country, so the worst we can do is to turn his camera or phone off if he becomes unruly. But that will not happen because he will respect our committee.)
Aside from Teves and Degamo, Dela Rosa said that other government agencies involved in investigating the case — the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) — will also be present.
Teves’ brother, former Negros Oriental governor Pryde Teves, however, has declined the invitation, according to the Senator.
Rep. Teves has maintained that he had nothing to do with the killing of Degamo, insisting that his brother would not gain anything from the incident as the vice governor would succeed the slain official.
Before Degamo was proclaimed governor, Pryde Teves used to hold the spot after the 2022 general elections. The Commission on Elections last October 2022 declared Degamo, the winner — and not Pryde Teves — after votes for a nuisance candidate named “Ruel Degamo” was credited to the murdered governor.
Just this February, the Supreme Court upheld the victory of Degamo against Pryde Teves.
Rep. Teves, meanwhile, was placed on a 60-day suspension by the House after he failed to return to the country and fulfill his duties. Teves went to the United States for medical treatment under a travel authority stretching from February 28 to March 9, but instead of returning to the Philippines, he asked the House leadership for an extension of up to March 15.
After the extension was denied, Teves requested a two-month leave, also turned down. Soon after, the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges moved to discuss Teves’ continued absence, eventually recommending that the lawmaker be suspended.