Teves’ expulsion to uphold House honor, dignity, says party-list coalition
MANILA, Philippines — A coalition of party-list groups on Thursday said that the expulsion of Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. from the roll of the House of Representatives is necessary to preserve the “honor” and “standing” of the institution.
“The title of ‘representative’ is both an honor and a pledge, a bond of trust between the elected and their constituents,” said Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. chairman and Ako Bikol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co in a statement.
“In this bond, the needs of the 3rd District of Negros Oriental must always be paramount. Regrettably, Rep. Teves’ extended sojourns and overseas endeavors have called this bond into question,” Co also said.
Teves was expelled for seeking political asylum in East Timor, which lawmakers said is tantamount to abandoning his post; his long absence; and his post on social media dancing while wearing undergarments, which was deemed “indecent” by the representatives.
The Anti-Terrorism Council’s (ATC) designation of Teves as a terrorist was also discussed, but it was not considered as a factor in his expulsion.
“The weighty implications of labeling an elected member of the House as a ‘terrorist’ are profound,” Co said.
“Such serious designations, when confirmed, threaten to blemish the honor and standing of our venerated institution both at home and on the global stage.”
The House committee on ethics and privileges’ recommendation to expel Teves was green-lighted by 256 members.
None of the lawmakers present voted in the negative, but Reps. Arlene Brosas of the Gabriela party-list group, France Castro of the ACT Teachers party-list group, and Raoul Manuel of the Kabataan party-list group abstained.
“With the sagacity and measured judgment that our storied tradition demands, the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc aligns with the collective determination of our fellow House Members,” Co said.
“We, with resolute purpose, support the decision to uphold the honor, dignity, and legacy of the House of Representatives by expelling Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves, Jr. Our allegiance to the noble principles of democracy and the overarching good of the Filipino people remains as steadfast as ever,” he added.
Meanwhile, the PDP Laban also expressed “unambiguous endorsement” of Teves’ expulsion.
“The PDP-Laban stands unwaveringly with the collective judgment of the political party leaders on this critical issue,” said Johnny Pimentel, Second District representative of Surigao del Sur and the party’s deputy secretary-general for Mindanao.