After suspension, Degamo camp seeks Teves expulsion from House

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 22) — The camp of slain Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo is still seeking the expulsion of Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., who has already been suspended by the House of Representatives for disorderly conduct.

"We are grateful dahil may suspension siya but we are hoping na it will be expulsion talaga sana," Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, the widow of the governor, told CNN Philippines' Politics As Usual on Wednesday.

[Translation: We're grateful because he was suspended but we are really hoping that he will be expelled.]

Teves was slapped with a 60-day suspension on Wednesday over his continued absence in Congress, as recommended by the ethics and privileges committee.

READ: House suspends Teves for 60 days over continued absence

"We will not stop," Degamo's wife said. "We will look at other angles na pwede naming i-file ulit sa ethics committee para makuha talaga namin 'yong expulsion [that we can file again in the ethics committee so we can achieve his expulsion]."

Lawyer Levi Baligod, who represents the Degamo family, said they are looking at filing a complaint against Teves over an alleged violation of Section 14 of Article VI in the 1987 Constitution.

The provision states that no senator or member of the House of Representatives, directly or indirectly, "[shall] be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during his term of office."

Baligod told CNN Philippines' Politics As Usual that Teves owned a franchise of Small Town Lottery (STL), a state-run local lottery under the control and supervision of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office - which he believes was a constitutionally-prohibited transaction for members of Congress.

"Maliwanag na na-violate 'yan ni Congressman Teves kaya 'yan 'yong basehan namin na mag-file ng complaint for expulsion from the House of Representatives," he said.

[Translation: Congressman Teves clearly violated that provision and that is our basis to file a complaint for expulsion from the House of Representatives.]

Baligod added that they will be citing in their complaint a previous statement of Teves' camp where they supposedly said: "Iniipit ng gobyerno si Congressman Teves, in fact, pati 'yong STL na pangkabuhayan niya ay kinansela pa [The government is pressuring Congressman Teves, in fact, even the STL which is his source of income was also canceled]."

"That alone, 'yong [the] admission of the lawyer, is an admission against the interest of his client na mahirap i-deny 'yan [which is difficult to deny]," Baligod said.

Degamo and eight others were killed in his residential compound on March 4. Several others were injured.

Teves was tagged as the mastermind of the assassination by some of the suspects in police custody. The two were political rivals in the province.

Teves' legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio on Monday said rules and procedures need to be observed before an official can be expelled from office, adding that his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

"Ang krimen ay hindi naso-solve sa init ng ulo, sa gigil, at sa galit," Topacio added.

[Translation: A crime cannot be solved through temper, shock, and anger.]

Teves has still not returned to the Philippines due to what he called "serious and grave threats" to his life. The government has been assuring him of security once he comes back.