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‘I’m no one's lapdog’: Bato answers accusations of being biased to Teves

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Tuesday addressed the “malicious allegations” on social media by people supposedly from Negros Oriental, claiming that he is “biased” towards suspended Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. in leading the Senate investigation into the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

“Ako raw, being the chairman of this committee, is biased to Teves because ako raw ay bayad na ni Teves, ako raw ay tuta ni Teves. I would answer that allegation na hindi po ako kayang bayaran kahit gaano kayaman si Teves. Hindi po ako kaya bayaran ng kahit sinoman,” Dela Rosa said.

(They accuse me of being biased, that I was paid by Teves and that I am his lapdog. I will answer that by saying that no one can "afford" me, no matter how rich they are. I cannot be bought by anyone.)

He also denied allegations that his wife is related to the Teves family.

Dela Rosa clarified that the cousin of his wife’s mother is married to Serafin Teves in Dumaguete but the latter is “not in any way related” to the family of Congressman Teves.

"Hindi ako related sa mga Teves... Okay lang na ako siraan. ‘Wag lang madamay ang ibang miyembro ng committee na ito because I’m the chairman. Masasayang ang paghihirap natin dito,” he said.

(I am not related to the Teves family. I don't mind if they go after me as long as no other member of the committee will be affected and allow our efforts to go to waste.)

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva backed his colleague amid the allegations, saying he is a “living testimony” of Dela Rosa’s credibility.

“Hindi kayang bayaran ng salapi. Hindi kayang silawin ng kahit anumang kayamanan si Senator Bato dela Rosa at ako na mismo iyong nagpapatunay niyan as a living testimony,” said Villanueva.

(Senator Bato dela Rosa can't be bought. I can attest to that and serve as a living testimony.)

Villanueva emphasized that Dela Rosa had been consistent with his statement that the Senate panel would ensure impartiality in hearing Degamo’s case.

Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, the widow of the slain governor, apologized on behalf of her constituents in Negros Oriental, saying the family of the victims believe in Dela Rosa’s capability to lead a fair and unbiased investigation.

“Humihingi po kami ng Pasensya on behalf of the people of Negros Oriental.  Love po nila si governor kaya siguro pag medyo meron silang nakikita na bagay bagay, they would express something like that,” she said.

(I apologize on behalf of the people of Negros Oriental. They just love Governor Degamo so much, that's why some of them may be expressing things like that.) 

“But kami, the aggrieved party, we are here. We are very appreciative…of the work that you do as chairperson of the committee, helping us to seek justice and legislative change for our province so we will no longer see violence and cruelty proliferate in our province,” she added. —VAL, GMA Integrated News