Teves' ethics case in House members' hands, says Romualdez

At a glance

  • House Speaker Martin Romualdez (In photo, left) commends the Committee on Ethics and Privileges for swiftly concluding its probe on Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr.'s (right) continued absence without official leave.

  • Teves' ethics case is now in his fellow House members' hands, Romualdez said.

  • (Photo from Speaker's office, Facebook)

Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr.'s ethics case "now lies in the hands" of his fellow congressmen.

Thus, said House Speaker Martin Romualdez shortly after the Committee on Ethics and Privileges ended its motu proprio investigation on Teves' continuing absence without official leave.

"The decision on Cong Arnie’s case now lies [in] the hands of his fellow House members, voting as an institution. I was informed that the ethics committee is ready submit its report and recommendation for plenary action," Romualdez said in a statement Tuesday night, March 21.

"Rest assured that the House of Representatives will render its decision on this case observing due process and fully cognizant of Cong Arnie’s rights, but with the best interest of the nation in mind," added the Leyte 1st district congressman.

According to the rules, the House may censure or reprimand an erring member with the concurrence of a majority of all its members.

For the heavier penalty of suspension or expulsion of an erring member, there must a concurrence of two-thirds of the members. Provided, that a penalty of suspension shall not exceed 60 days.

There are currently 314 House members.

Teves, who is being implicated in the March 4 assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, remains out of the country.

The House had earlier issued him a travel authority or travel clearance covering the dates Feb. 28 to March 9. Teves reportedly had stem cell treatment in the United States (US).

Romualdez has repeatedly asked Teves to return home after the expiration of his travel clearance, saying that the lower chamber wants to "hear his side".

"I commend the chairman and the committee members for acting expeditiously on the case, in consonance with the committee’s mandate and in compliance with the rules of the House to punish its members for disorderly behavior," he said.

He underscored that he recognizes and respects Teves' rights as a House member.