Degamo widow objects to Teves’ online Senate appearance
The widow of slain Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo on Friday appealed to Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to reconsider his decision to allow suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. to participate online at a Senate inquiry on Monday.
In a letter to Dela Rosa, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, Mayor Janice Degamo of Pamplona town, Negros Oriental, said she and other relatives of victims of political violence in the province were “disappointed” and “dismayed” after the senator granted Teves’ request to attend the committee’s April 17 hearing via videoconference.
The inquiry into “the spate of violent attacks on several local public officials” was prompted by Senate Resolution No. 518, which Sen. Risa Hontiveros filed on March 6, two days after the governor’s assassination.
Teves, who was in the United States when his political rival was killed, had since flown to Cambodia where he continues to stay, according to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.
Janice Degamo said Dela Rosa’s “decision has greatly affected the victims who strongly disagree with such an accommodation.”
“We believe that all participants in the hearing should be treated equally and given the same opportunity to attend personally regardless of their position or status,” she added.
Allowing other resource persons to take part remotely in the Senate inquiry “undermines the value and importance of our presence in the hearing and it is unfair to those who will be attending personally,” Degamo said further.
“I, along with the previous victims of killings, land grabbing, harassment, and more, will be attending the hearing personally, sacrificing our time, effort, money, and security just to ensure that our voices are heard and our concerns are addressed,” she also said.
Teves a ‘fugitive’
Degamo maintained that Teves was a “fugitive,” and as such, “should not be afforded such an accommodation.”
In a media interview on March 28, Remulla described Teves as a fugitive for being suspected of committing a crime and because he ‘’did not show up.’’
He later clarified this remark after the congressman’s lawyer, Ferdie Topacio, cried foul over that label being ‘’recklessly” used in the absence of an arrest warrant against his client.
Sought for comment on Janice Degamo’s letter, Dela Rosa said he will take up her request with the committee.
“[We will] come up with a decision before we start the hearing,” he said.
On March 22, Teves was ordered suspended for 60 days by the House committee on ethics for defying its ultimatum for him to return to work after his travel authority had expired.
The committee earlier rejected his request to be allowed to attend its hearing through videoconference.
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