Senate committee refuses to allow Teves to attend hearing virtually on Degamo slay
A Senate committee on Monday did not allow suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves from virtually attending a probe on Governor Roel Degamo’s killing.
Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said the members of the panel “unanimously agreed” to this decision during an executive session before the hearing.
Teves, allegedly the main mastermind of the Degamo killing on March 4 where eight others were also slain, agreed to attend the hearing with the condition that he would be allowed to attend virtually, De la Rosa said.
“There is a unanimous agreement not to allow the virtual presence of Congressman Teves for the following reasons: Number one, there will be legal issues that will arise as to the taking of oath as a basic requirement in taking testimonies of any resource person or witness. The whereabouts of Congressman Teves is not known or definite, thus jurisdiction as to his oath will be taken may be questioned legally,” Dela Rosa said.
He cited that Teves should also bepresent in case the committee cites him for contempt or issues a subpoena so they can have jurisdiction over him.
Dela Rosa said that the committee was still open to hearing Teves’ side should he ever decide to attend physically.
“Again, the members of this committee unanimously agree not to allow the virtual presence of Congressman Teves. But the doors are not completely shut down to Congressman Teves. If he wants to come here physically, then by all means, we will entertain. We will listen to everything that he has to say,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader JV Ejercito earlier pointed out that Teves’ lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, should not be allowed to attend the probe physically in the absence of the solon.
“Likewise, even legal counsel may not be allowed to attend this committee. Legal counsel of Congressman Teves, if he is not physically present, will not be allowed also by the body because the legal counsel is only there to advise the resource person. So he or she should not be allowed also to appear in this committee,” Ejercito said.
After the expiration of his travel authority on March 9, Teves asked House Speaker Martin Romualdez to extend his medical leave citing security threats.
The House of Representatives on March 22 voted to suspend Teves for 60 days for his continued absence despite his expired travel authority. Jaspearl Tan/DMS