Romualdez says Teves must return to country

Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. *

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Thursday, March 16, strongly urged Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. (Neg. Or., 3rd District) to reconsider his decision not to return to the country, saying “It does not sit well for a House Member to flee the country rather than avail himself of all the legal remedies available to him”.

Romualdez issued the statement following a private meeting with Teves’ legal counsel, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, Wednesday evening.

Teves earlier sent a letter to Romualdez seeking a two-month leave of absence from the House of Representatives due to a “very grave security threat to his life and his family”.

The congressman has been linked to the murder of Gov. Roel Degamo that also left eight others dead in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, on March 4.

Teves has denied any involvement in the killings.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Teves has left the United States and is currently in a Southeast Asian country.

Romualdez said Topacio, sought a private meeting with him Wednesday night to personally relay some concerns of Teves.

“In that meeting, I reiterated my stand that Cong. Arnie should return to the country and report for work at once”, he said.

Romualdez said he relayed the decision of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate Teves’ refusal to heed a direct order from the Speaker for him to come home after the expiration of his travel authority on March 9.

The Committee on Ethics and Privileges has already acquired jurisdiction on Teves’ case, he said.

“I will act accordingly after the Committee wraps up its investigation and submits its recommendation to the House leadership,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez said he also reiterated the assurance that he and the entire House leadership will exert all means necessary to pave the way for Teves’ safe return to the country.

Teves, in his letter to Romualdez, had assured that he will “come back as soon as the threat (to him and his family) will be dealt with accordingly under our laws, and with the aid of the government”.*

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