Teves camp eyes legal action if gov’t pushes through with passport cancellation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — The camp of Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves said it is eyeing legal actions in case authorities push through with their plan to cancel his passport, his lawyer said Thursday.

“They would be in violation of the law and we may have recourse to the courts to annul the action and the Ombudsman because that would be a case of graft,” Ferdinand Topacio, the legal counsel of Teves, told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

In a Wednesday briefing, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said authorities will request for the cancelation of Teves’ passport once the complaint against him for his alleged involvement in the slay of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo is filed in court

Remulla bared the Justice department’s plan after revealing that Teves applied for political asylum in Timor-Leste. The lawmaker is currently in the capital city of Dili.

Teves has been ordered to leave Timor-Leste within five days after his application for political asylum was rejected by the government.

According to Topacio, there are only three grounds for a passport to be canceled.

First is if the owner is a fugitive, second is if the person has been convicted by final judgment, and third if the passport has been tampered or fraudulently secured.

The lawyer stressed that none of these apply to his client.

On claims that Teves is using a diplomatic passport, Topacio said he has no knowledge about it.

Teves has continuously refused to return to the Philippines due to safety concerns. His travel authority to fly to the United States in late February expired on March 9.

The House of Representatives has sanctioned Teves with a 60-day suspension due to his absence. This is set to end this month.

Another hearing may be held soon to possibly implement another disciplinary action against the embattled lawmaker.