'Pinilit lang sila': Teves claims some solons were forced to uphold his suspension

At a glance

  • Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. is claiming that some of his fellow House members were forced to uphold the 60-day suspension against him for "disorderly behavior" last March.

  • The House voted 292-0-0 (yes-no-abstain) on the matter of Teves' 60-day suspension, which was recommended by the Committee on Ethics.

IMG-c99a1a05cf4f4f8ac6ddd68382d98010-V.jpg Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo "Teves (Screenshot from Zoom)

Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. has claimed that some of his congressmen-colleagues were forced into voting against him in plenary last March, resulting in his 60-day suspension.

Teves, in a virtual press conference Thursday, May 25, recalled a phone conversation he had with House Committee on Ethics and Privileges Chairman and COOP-NATCCO Party-list Rep. Felimon Espares.

During the phone call, the controversial Teves questioned Espares' remark that the handing down of the 60-day suspension was a "collegial decision".

House records show that March 22 nominal vote was unanimous in favor of upholding the two-month suspension that had been recommended by the ethics panel.

"Bakit sinabi mo collegial? Alam ko naman na may mga umangal dyan (Why did you say it's collegial? I know that there are complaints about it)," said the Visayas solon, who has been out of the country since Feb. 28.

"Hindi ko lang pwede banggitin dito but there were a few congressmen na umangal doon sa committee. But in fact, napilitan lang sila bumoto pa rin. Pero syempre walang magawa yung tao eh kawawa naman di ba (I cannot mention it here but there were a few congressmen who complained before the committee. In fact they were forced to vote. Of course they couldn't do anything and I pity them)," Teves said.

Last March 22, a total of 292 House members voted in favor of the 60-day suspension on Teves, which the ethics panel said was for his "disorderly behavior". There were no negatives votes or abstentions.

"Pinilit lang sila na bumoto para lang maging unanimous, magandang tignan yung kunwari lahat gusto na masuspend ako (They were forced to vote in order to achieve a unanimous outcome, pretending that everybody wanted me suspended was good for optics)," he said.

"Kung inutusan lang kayo ng Speaker na ito ang gawin (If  you were ordered by the Speaker to do this), that is not a collegial decision. Matatanggap ko pa yun (I would have accepted that)," he said.

Teves' suspension lapsed on May 22. But he still regards it as "unfair and illegal".

Teves has been charged for murder by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in connection with the March 4 assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo. He has refused to come back home due to "serious threats to his life".

Teves is considered absent without official leave by the House.

The ethics committee could recommend another penalty against Teves, depending on whether or not he decides to appear physically in the panel's hearings.