House gives Teves 24 hours to return, attend hearing in person – House panel

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 20)— A House panel has given Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. an ultimatum to return and show up at work within 24 hours before it tackles possible sanctions against the lawmaker.

COOP NATCCO Rep. Felimon Espares, chairperson of the ethics committee, said he and his colleagues decided against Teves virtually attending hearings.

“We’ll give another chance of 24 hours for him to really personally appear in our committee. Otherwise, the action of the committee will be based on his non-appearance,” Espares told reporters in an interview after the panel’s closed-door meeting on Monday.

“We need his physical appearance, meaning for him to really report here in the House of Representatives,” he added. “Kung di siya makapag-appear (if he can’t appear) personally, the committee would really have its decision, the appropriate sanctions.”

The lawmaker — who has been tagged in killings in his province — went abroad late last month for medical treatment.

He has yet to return after his travel authority expired on March 9.

Last week, Teves also requested for a two-month leave from the House, citing a "very grave security threat" to his life and family. This was rejected by House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

Meanwhile, Teves’ lawyer said it’s up to the House to decide on possible disciplinary actions against the lawmaker.

READ: There are rules to expel House member Teves' lawyer