Calls for Arnie Teves’ resignation as he gets 60-day suspension for continued absence

March 23, 2023 - 2:59 PM
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Arnie Teves
Rep. Arnie Teves Jr (Negros Oriental, Third District) in 2020, as seen in this photo uploaded on his Facebook page on Sept. 28, 2021 (ArnieTevesOfficial/Facebook)

Filipinos are calling on a lawmaker to step down from his position after being slapped with a 60-day suspension for his continued absence from the legislative proceedings at the lower chamber.

The colleagues of Rep. Arnie Teves Jr. (Negros Oriental, Third District) unanimously voted for him to be temporarily suspended over his prolonged non-appearance amid an expired travel authority.

Rep. Felipe Espares (COOP-NATCCO Party-list) said that the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges had recommended the action after finding Teves guilty of “disorderly conduct affecting the dignity, integrity and reputation of the House of Representatives in accordance with the House Rules.”

Another colleague of Teves, Rep. Raul Bongalon (AKO BICOL Party-list), said that the suspension is not connected with the Degamo slay that Teves is embroiled with.

“Ito ay may kinalaman sa kanyang expired travel authority and continuing refusal to heed the order of the House Speaker to come back and attend the activities here in Congress,” Bongalon told One News’ “The Chiefs” on Wednesday.

“Ang kanyang stay sa labas ng ating bansa is unauthorized already,” he added.

Rep. France Castro (ACT Teachers Party-list) also said that she voted for Teves’ suspension to impose sanctions against anyone who violates the House rules.

“Ang pagboto ng ‘yes’ ng representasyong ito ay may kalakip na pasubali, na dapat ipatupad ang mga alituntunin ng Kamara para panagutin ang mga kinatawan nito sa kanilang mga tungkulin at obligasyon sa ating mga mamamayan ng pantay at walang pinipili,” she explained.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez also said that the lower chamber will not tolerate “any conduct unbecoming [of] a House member.”

He previously issued Teves the authority to travel to the United States from February 27 to March 9 due to medical reasons.

Teves later on appealed for Romualdez to grant him a two-month leave of absence, citing a “very grave security threat” to his life and his family.

By March 5, the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges gave Teves five days to explain his continued absence from the proceedings of the lower chamber.

Meanwhile, the district representative’s 60-day suspension has prompted some Filipinos to call for his resignation instead as he continues to fail to appear in Congress.

“Pala-absent, sinasahuran ng [taong-bayan], saan ang mga [bumoto] dito, ano na? Pinaglilingkuran ba kayo [nang] tama…” a Facebook user commented to the reports.

“Dapat nag-resign na ‘yan, hindi na niya magagampanan ang tungkulin niya para sa kanyang nasasakupan,” another online user wrote.

Another Pinoy recalled a former lawmaker of the upper chamber who also had frequent absences before.

“Si [Manny] Pacquiao dati, halos hindi naman pumapasok sa Congress, wala naman mga ganyan[g] suspension,” he commented.

In 2019, former senator Manny Pacquiao logged the most number of absences among senators in the third and last session of the 17th Congress.

Cases 

Earlier this month, the Philippine National Police filed three murder complaints against Teves in connection with murder cases in Negros Oriental in 2019.

The victims were the following:

  • Miguel Dungog — Shot in front of the Silliman University Medical Center, Dumaguete City on March 25
  • Lester Pialago Bato — Gunned down in Barangay Nagbo-alao in Basay town on May 26
  • Pacito Retes Libron, — Shot in Barangay Malabugas, Bayawan City on June 23

A suspected gunman of the recent assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo also referred to a certain “Congressman Teves” as the supposed mastermind.

It was unclear whether this referred to Arnie or his brother, Pryde Henry, who was the province’s governor before being unseated following a recount.

ALSO READ: ‘Cong Teves’: Bong Teves clears ‘misconceptions’ as name gets dragged in Degamo killing

On March 4, Degamo was killed in his residential compound at Pamplona while meeting with his constituents in daylight.

Six assailants with high-powered firearms suddenly went to the area and opened fire, which left the governor and other civilians dead. Seventeen people were also injured.

Teves has since denied involvement in Degamo’s killing, but he continuously refuses to return to the country.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said that the government would deploy “all kinds” of security to protect the governor upon his arrival in Manila.

“You are rich, you have a private jet. (You will be) surrounded by soldiers. No one can approach you,” the chief executive said before.

Marcos also advised Teves to return to the Philippines before the government is “forced to move without any discussions with him.”

“As this goes on for longer, your situation gets even more difficult. If you return early, you have more options,” the president said.