The lawyer of Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. said Teves may challenge in court the latest suspension that the House of Representatives imposed against the lawmaker.
“We are not foreclosing…judicial recourses with respect to the actions of the House committee on ethics,” including the first 60-day suspension,” Ferdinand Topacio, Teves’ legal counsel, said.
The lawyer, in an ABS-CBN report, also said while imposing suspensions and penalties against lawmakers is within the powers of the chamber, his client’s rights were violated, “more particularly, the right to due process and equal protection.”
The House of Representatives on Wednesday imposed another 60-day suspension without pay on Teves over his continued absence from the chamber on an expired travel authority.
The House adopted the recommendation of the House ethics and privileges panel chaired by COOP-NATCCO party-list Rep. Felimon Espares by a 285-0-1 vote.
The chamber also stripped off Teves’ committee memberships.
“His [Teves] actions constitute violation of code of conduct and disorderly behavior warranting disciplinary action. [As a result], the House committee on ethics and privileges recommends to the House of Representatives the imposition of the following penalties: 60 day suspension due to disorderly behavior, revocation of all his rights and privileges as member of the House in said period, and forfeiture of all committee membership,” Espares said.
“He remains abroad, fails to perform his duties and responsibilities as members of the House and commits acts detrimental to the House and its members,” he added.
On March 22, the House first suspended Teves for 60 days due to his absence.
Teves has been tagged by the Department of Justice as a suspected mastermind in the March 4 assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo.
Teves, however, has denied any involvement in the killing, adding that the serious threats to his life have prevented him from returning to the country.