House to consider Teves’ asylum bid for possible stiffer sanction, solon says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — A member of the House Committee on Ethics said Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves’ request for political asylum will be a factor that the panel will consider in possibly slapping the suspended lawmaker with stiffer sanctions over his continued absence in Congress.

“That is definitely isa sa mga titingnan ng ating committee (one of the factors our committee will look into) and that will also determine the recommendation of the committee on May 23, 2023,” House ethics panel vice chairperson Raul Angelo Bongalon told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday.

Teves, who was tagged as one of the alleged masterminds behind the murder of Gov. Roel Degamo, has refused to return to the country, citing security concerns. He flew to the United States late-February for medical purposes.

On March 22, the House of Representatives slapped Teves with a 60-day suspension due to his continued absence.

Early this month, the embattled lawmaker filed for political asylum in Timor-Leste, but the application was rejected, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. 

For Bongalon, Teves' request only aggravates his situation.

“Technically speaking, if someone is seeking for a political asylum, he is taking a refuge into a foreign country. So, there is an impression that he has no trust anymore to our government,” Bongalon said.

He also said that the move made by Teves tarnishes the dignity, reputation, and honor of the House.

Bangolan said the ethics panel is left with two options, either to implement another period of suspension or to expel Teves.

He urged Teves to heed to the call of the lower chamber to return to the country and be physically present in the proceedings regarding his case being tackled by the ethics panel.

The ethics committee vice chair also assured his colleague that they will protect him as he remains a member of the lower chamber.

Bongalon said the panel may come up with its recommendation next week. This will be submitted to the Committee on Rules then to the plenary so the members of the House can act on it before adjourning in June, he added.

READ: House eyes ‘some action’ on Teves before adjournment of session in June