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Arnie Teves adamant on virtual attendance in ethics hearing

Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. on Thursday maintained that he will not physically attend the hearing of the House ethics committee on his continuous absence despite the possibility of expulsion.

At a virtual press briefing, Teves, who is out of the country, insisted that he cannot attend physically due to the alleged threat to his life, adding that he should be allowed to attend via video teleconferencing like other House members.

“Bakit nila gusto ako pumunta sa Kongreso, puwede naman mag-Zoom? Bakit ang ibang congressman puwede mag-Zoom? In fact, I [have] screenshots of recent meetings, sessions, and hearings [showing] that other congressmen were joining via video teleconferencing. How come sila allowed, si Cong. Arnie Teves [hindi]?” he said.

(Why won’t they allow me to attend via Zoom? Why are other congressmen allowed to attend via Zoom? In fact, I have screenshots of recent meetings, sessions, and hearings showing that other congressmen were joining via video teleconferencing. How come they were allowed and I'm not?)

Teves is being linked to the killing of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo and several others. He has repeatedly denied the accusation. At least four suspect-witnesses have recanted their testimonies linking him and his former bodyguard, Marvin Miranda, to the killing.

“Sa akin lang sa Kamara, dapat pakinggan nila ako [I hope the House would listen to me]. And I am a regular member of Congress, me and together with the voice of my constituents, and all the rest of Filipino people, I should be allowed to speak even through video teleconferencing,” Teves said.

Teves also said Congress has more pressing matters to deal with than his physical absence.

The lawmaker refused to return to the country even after the expiration of the 60-day suspension without pay imposed by the House ethics committee. His request for asylum in Timor-Leste had also been rejected.

The House ethics committee earlier said it will stop its proceedings only if Teves decides to come home. —KBK, GMA Integrated News