No pressure to resolve Teves’ House absence, committee report eyed before break -- Espares | Inquirer News

No pressure to resolve Teves’ House absence, committee report eyed before break — Espares

/ 03:23 PM May 23, 2023

Suspect retracts confession tagging Teves in Degamo slay

Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. (INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE)

MANILA, Philippines — COOP NATCCO Rep. Filemon Espares has disputed claims that the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, which he heads, is being pressured to resolve issues concerning Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr., whose 60-day suspension ended on Monday.

Espares, in an interview with media members, was asked about claims that his committee is being pressured to come up with a report regarding Teves’ continued absence.


Espares, however, clarified that the committee only wants to submit the report on Teves’ unauthorized absence before Congress goes on a sine die adjournment on June 3.

“Based on our discussions dito I can deny that, and maybe the two vice chairs can also attest to that.  Free-flowing ‘yong discussions dito, and we allow members to really point out their opinion, their decision, and we come up with a collegial decision,” Espares said.

“So ang pressure lang siguro dito is just because dapat makahabol din ‘yong (So the only pressure here is that we need to submit the) committee reports for the plenary or the members of the House to act on our report before we have a long break.  So ‘yon lang (Only that). But then with regards sa mga other pressures, no I don’t think so,” he added.

Espares also maintained that while they would like to hear the side of Teves, he would still not be allowed to join the proceedings through videoconferencing because he has been deemed absent.

The ethics panel chairman explained that once a lawmaker is deemed absent, they cannot join House affairs until they present themselves physically.

“So kung absent ka, it is there in our House rules, na hindi ka pwedeng mag-participate sa lahat ng affairs dito sa House kasi you are absent,” he added.


(So if you are absent, it is in our House rules that you cannot participate in all House affairs because you are absent.)

He also expressed concerns that allowing Teves to participate through videoconferencing might set a precedent where lawmakers can go absent and participate in hearings and sessions remotely. 

Earlier, Espares said a committee hearing had been scheduled on Monday, May 29, to discuss Teves’ continued absence.

Teves was suspended last March 22 after he failed to return to the country, despite the House only allowing him to leave the country from February 8 to March 9 for a medical procedure in the United States.

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Teves cited security concerns for him and his family after he was tagged as the mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo. 

Degamo was gunned down in his residence in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, last March 4.  Despite a Special Investigation Task Group tagging him, Teves has denied involvement in the incident, saying that he and his brother Pryde Henry Teves will not gain anything from the attack.

TAGS: Degamo, hearing, House, Teves

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