Degamo family to file complaint to expel Teves from House next week, counsel says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 23) —  The family of slain Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo will soon file a complaint against suspended Rep. Arnie Teves over his alleged ownership of a Small Town Lottery franchise and operation of e-sabong, with the end goal of removing him from his post, their lawyer said.

Speaking to CNN Philippines’ The Source on Thursday, lawyer Levi Baligod said the Degamo camp will file the complaint “early next week.”

On Wednesday, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, the widow of the governor, said that while they are grateful for the 60-day suspension of Teves, they still hope the congressman will be expelled from the House of Representatives.

The complaint will focus on Teves' alleged violation of Section 14 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, Baligod said.

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."

Teves' lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said rules and procedures have to be followed before a lawmaker can be expelled.

He also maintained the innocence of his client, who was tagged as the mastermind of the assassination of Degamo on March 4.

Currently, 10 suspects related to the killing of the governor are in government custody. At least one has named a "Congressman Teves" as the alleged mastermind of the crime.

Baligod said the Degamo family believes that politics is the main motive for the murder.

In September 2022, the Commission on Elections invalidated the win of the lawmaker’s brother Henry Teves, and proclaimed his then-rival Degamo as the winner of the May 9 gubernatorial poll in Negros Oriental.

The Supreme Court upheld Degamo’s victory in February this year.

Baligod said the Department of Justice is processing the statements of other suspects to come up with their sworn affidavits, and the Degamo camp has other witnesses they can present to authorities.

He also said the Degamo family is satisfied with how the government is handling the case, but Degamo's widow still wants to seek an audience with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. He did not say what matters she wants to raise.