Teves blasts setup for House expulsion
Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. on Thursday slammed the House panel on ethics for insisting on his physical presence in its May 29 hearing on the congressman’s supposed absenteeism at the House of Representatives.
Teves, who is accused of being the mastermind in the assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, has not returned to the country due to alleged threats to his life and claimed he was being set up for expulsion from the lower chamber.
The House rejected his request to attend hearings and sessions online, upon the conclusion of his 60-day suspension which ended on May 22.
At a virtual press conference on Thursday, the congressman lamented the “political persecution” he was supposedly being subjected to, alleging that there was a representative who was committing “disorderly conduct” worse than his absenteeism and dared the House committee on ethics and privileges chairperson and COOP-NATCCO party list Rep. Felimon Espares to conduct a probe.
“By May 23, I should already be and am a regular member of Congress without any penalty… But I was deemed absent,” Teves said, pointing out that he joined Wednesday’s hearing of the committee on nuclear energy via video teleconference and even voted for the approval of a measure on Tuesday.
“During the plenary session yesterday (Wednesday), I tried to join via Zoom, they never allowed me in… They said I needed the secretary general’s approval,” he added.
He said that while the reason for his 60-day suspension was disorderly conduct based on his 13-day unauthorized leave of the House, there were congressmen who had done worse.
“As I see it, it is a more disorderly conduct to enter a business deal with a TV station, the franchise of which is subject to congressional approval. That’s a worse disorderly conduct, isn’t it?” Teves said in Filipino, without saying to whom he was referring.
“I see here now that they will force the issue on me having committed an offense. If I am deemed absent all the time, they can expel me. That’s why they are not letting me join [hearings and sessions]. I’ve seen their script,” he pointed out.
Teves said that in his phone call on Wednesday with Espares, the ethics panel chair insisted that he be physically present in the May 29 hearing. “Why do they want my body so much? As I’ve said in a previous interview, I’m not that handsome or macho,” he said, speculating that there may be some persons who want him out because they were interested in the third district of Negros Oriental.
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