House panel to submit recommendation on Teves' absence

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) — Despite a 24-hour ultimatum to show up for work at the House of Representatives, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. remained a no-show and failed to provide the Ethics and Privileges committee a reason for his continued absence.

Committee chairman Rep. Felimon Espares in a briefing on Tuesday said the panel has given Teves "enough time to comply" with the order to return to the country and physically report for work.

"The continuing failure of Rep. Arnie Teves to heed the committee order to appear before the panel leaves us no choice but to wrap up the investigation in his case without his valid explanation," Espares said.

"The committee has reached a conclusion by unanimous voting and we will transmit and submit our report at once and recommendation to the plenary for appropriate action," the lawmaker added.

Although the panel has decided on a recommendation for Teves, Espares said they cannot disclose it before it is submitted and deliberated in the plenary tomorrow.

"So bukas pa natin malalaman [We'll know tomorrow] once our report and recommendations is accepted and will be discussed to be acted by the members of the House during our plenary tomorrow," he explained.

Teves was given until Tuesday afternoon to physically report for work and attend a committee hearing. 

He noted that Teves' travel authority expired last March 9. Teves - who has been tagged in killings in his province - went abroad late last month for medical treatment.

Last week, Teves asked 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, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Tuesday said he received a text message from Teves, but he refused to reply because he does not want to be "distracted" from the investigation into the murder of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo.