There are rules to expel House member - Teves' lawyer

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 20) — The legal counsel of Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. said expelling a House member is not simple since procedures need to be followed and congressional representation should be considered.

“Hindi basta basta ine-expel ang isang miyembro ng Kamara. Mawawalan ng representasyon ang ilang daang libo ng tao sa Kongreso,” Ferdinand Topacio said in a press conference on Monday.

[Translation: A House member is not simply expelled. Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their representation in Congress.]

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo was killed at his residence in Pamplona town on March 4. Two suspects earlier tagged Teves as the one who ordered the hit on the governor.

In a separate interview on Sunday, Degamo's widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, said she appealed to the House of Representatives to expel Teves as a member.

But Topacio said rules and procedures need to be observed before an official can be expelled from office, adding that Teves is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

“Ang krimen ay hindi nas-solve sa init ng ulo, sa gigil, at sa galit, [Translation: A crime is not solved in temper, in shock, and in anger.]" he added.

Topacio also called out Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Mico Clavano for his recent remarks on the case and said he should stop making statements that would make Teves look guilty.

“You are not doing your organization any favors by slanting your statements na mukhang guilty na ‘yung isang tao, [Translation: that the person already looks guilty.]” Topacio said.

On Saturday, after announcing the dismissal of one out of the eight complaints against Teves for lack of basis, Clavano said the lawmaker’s record is “not yet clear” since he and his sons are still facing multiple complaints related to illegal possession of firearms.

READ: DOJ junks one of several illegal firearms complaints vs. Teves

Clavano also said the government will ask Interpol to issue a Blue Notice to closely monitor movements of the suspects in the Degamo assassination, including Teves.

READ: PH to seek Interpol Blue Notice vs. Degamo slay suspects