Marcos seen to thank Timor Leste PM on denial of Teves’ asylum plea – Romualdez
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. may extend his gratitude to Timor Leste prime minister Taur Matan Ruak for the rejection of the request for asylum of Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr.
The possibility of this scenario was expressed by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez in a press briefing in Indonesia on Tuesday night on the sidelines of the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
In answering a question, the Speaker also does not think Marcos will go to the extent of asking the Timor Leste head of state to produce Teves.
“No, I don’t think that President Marcos will make any insistence. I wouldn’t be surprised if he would just acknowledge and thank the Timor Leste leader for the action taken by his government because that is the right course of action. President Marcos is one who is very, very respectful of protocol and processes, due process,” Romualdez explained.
It was revealed on Tuesday that Teves is in Timor Leste, seeking asylum.
This request was promptly denied.
Romualdez offered the possible reason for this decision.
“Obviously, it has come to the knowledge of the government of Timor Leste that there are indeed pending charges and more allegations […] so filing for political asylum — because he is not being prosecuted by the government or any political group,” he added.
For his part, the Speaker said that he would also thank the prime minister for the latter’s actions.
“It’s after the fact na lang na nag-biyahe siya (it’s after the fact that he made the trip), this thing came out and that’s why he’s asking for political asylum […] and so they (Timor Leste) are correct in denying. So maayos talaga ang ginawa ng Timor Leste (So what Timor Leste did was correct). They are on solid ground,” Romualdez noted.
“I will thank him. It will not have to be necessarily the President. Ako as the Speaker, I will thank him because it’s been my position that Cong. Arnie Teves should come home, and he should not be using the rights, immunities, and privileges of a congressman to avoid or evade the wheels of justice or the long arm of the law, so to speak,” he added.
Teves is accused of masterminding the killing of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo.
He has not returned to the Philippines since his medical trip to the United States (US).
On Tuesday, Romualdez warned Teves that there may be another disciplinary measure in store for him if he does not return to the Philippines after his 60-day suspension has lapsed.
House members voted to place Teves under a 60-day suspension on March 22, 2023.
This was during the last session day before the adjournment for the Holy Week break.
This move meant Teves would remain suspended until May 22.
Teves had said several times that he would not return to the country due to threats to his and his family’s safety.
The lawmaker was allowed by the House to go on a medical trip to the US from February 28 to March 9, 2023.
But he had yet to come back since Degamo and other individuals were gunned down in Pamplona town last March 4.
The lawmaker denied involvement in the Degamo slay, saying that he and his brother, former governor Pryde Henry Teves, would not benefit from the incident.
Teves sought to participate during House of Representatives discussions, including the hearing of the committee on ethics and privileges about his suspension, but he was barred from doing so as he had to report physically.
Romualdez, for his part, told the lawmaker that he will be given security.
“I had repeatedly assured him that the House of Representatives will secure his personal safety upon his return to the Philippines,” Romualdez said on Tuesday.