Teves’ lawyer: Any appeal to House ethics panel ‘futile, pointless'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 28) – The camp of Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. no longer sees a need to appeal to the House ethics committee to allow the lawmaker to virtually argue his case in its hearing on Monday.

Teves’ lawyer, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, said there was no point in pleading with the committee members whom he claimed already made up their minds about the lawmaker.

“Any appeal would be futile and pointless when the members thereof are acting under directions and whatever decision they will release is already a foregone conclusion,” he said in a text message.

The House ethics panel will discuss its recommended disciplinary action against Teves for “disorderly behavior” over his continuous unauthorized absence in the House.

Committee officials previously said he should personally appear in the closed-door hearing.

Teves, who is tagged as the mastermind in the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, has yet to return to the country since February 28, when he flew to the United States. His last known whereabouts was in Timor-Leste, where his application for political asylum was denied.

Following the end of his 60-day suspension as a lawmaker on May 22, Teves is considered absent from the House. This means he cannot participate even in hybrid committee hearings and plenary sessions.

House ethics committee chairman and COOP NATCCO Party-List Rep. Felimon Espares said the recommendation will be submitted to the plenary for voting before Congress adjourns sine die on June 2.