The House of Representatives on Wednesday imposed another 60-day suspension without pay on Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Jr. 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.
Speaker Martin Romualdez said there was nothing personal in the fresh suspension order.
“We will not allow anyone to destroy the integrity of Congress….I would like to reiterate that as members of this House, we must be accountable to the people at all times and perform our legislative mandates with utmost competence, efficiency, effectiveness, integrity and fidelity to the people’s welfare — nothing less. Let this be a reminder to all of us,” Romualdez said.
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.