Teves prioritizes safety; insists on attending ethics panel probe via online
MANILA, Philippines — Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. reiterated on Thursday that his safety remains his top priority as he maintained his decision not to physically attend the hearing on his continued absence set by the House committee on ethics and privileges on May 29.
The hearing comes after the end of his 60-day suspension last May 22, which was slapped against him by 292 House of Representatives members.
“I am a regular member of the Congress together with the voice of my constituents and all the rest of the Filipino people. I should be allowed to speak even through video conferencing,” Teves said in an online press conference.
“Ang pinapanindigan ko ay ang banta sa aking buhay hindi ko pwedeng ipagpalit ang aking buhay sa kahit anong bagay,” he added.
(I believe my life is under threat, and I cannot trade my life for anything.)
Teves again questioned why the committee was singling him out when other lawmakers attended hearings via video conferencing and were also absent from their duties.
(Why do other congressmen join hearings through Zoom? I have screenshots that other members of Congress are joining via video conferencing; why can’t Arnie Teves do the same? This is oppression, right?)
Meanwhile, his legal counsel Atty Ferdinand Topacio backed Teves’ sentiments citing the Bill of Rights, which states that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
“Kaya nga may right (That’s why there is a right) to representation [at] kaya nga a counsel is a representative of a person,” Topacio stressed, adding that the congressman’s basic constitutional rights “are being violated.”
Based on reports, Teves was suspended last March 22 following his failure to return home after the expiration of his travel authorization. The congressman reasoned that he was in the United States for a stem cell treatment.
Last May 10, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was in Dili, Timor-Leste (East Timor), where his application for political asylum was rejected.
When asked where he is now, Teves answered: “Secret.”
House panel to tackle Teves expired travel authority, refusal to return to PH
House ethics panel sets hearing on Teves’ continuous absence
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