Speaker Martin Romualdez has assumed the role of caretaker of the third district of Negros Oriental, represented by suspended lawmaker Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr.
“The undersigned shall act as the legislative caretaker of the third district of Negros Oriental for the period March 23, 2023, to May 22, 2023. This order takes effect immediately,” the memorandum order signed by Romualdez on March 23 read.
Romualdez said the designation was made "in the interest of the people" of Teves' district.
The House Speaker traditionally names caretakers for districts not represented in the chamber due to various reasons, such as the appointment of the elected lawmaker to another government position, suspension, or expulsion of a member.
Teves has been linked to the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, a political rival, on March 4.
He has since denied involvement in the killing of Degamo but has refused to return to the country anytime soon for fears of his safety.
Last week, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to suspend Teves for 60 days due to disorderly behavior stemming from his continued absence from congressional proceedings amid an expired travel authorization.
Teves has already appealed his suspension.
Degamo’s widow, Pamplona, Negros Oriental Mayor Janice Degamo, meanwhile, urged the House to remove Teves from the list of members. —VBL, GMA Integrated News