Removal of Cong. Teves based on social media posts, among others, unacceptable, Ex-Speaker Alvarez explains “No” vote regarding Teves expulsion
Following the expulsion of lawmaker Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves yesterday, August 16, 2023, at the recommendation of the ethics committee of the House of Representatives (“HREP”), former House Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez expressed dismay and disagreement to the decision of the chamber.
The veteran legislator sent a letter to Majority Leader Zamboanga 2nd district Representative Mannix Dalipe respectfully requesting that his vote of “no” be clearly reflected in the records and journal of the HREP.
Under Article 6, Section 16 (3) of the 1987 Constitution a member of its chamber may be expelled with a vote of two-thirds of all its members. Further, the Committee, citing the House Rules, reported that the acts of Cong. Teves were “so grave as to merit the most severe form of disciplinary action.”
“Tinanggal si Cong. Teves dahil sa absence without leave, sumubok kumuha ng political asylum sa Timor-Leste, at dahil sa mga pinopost niya sa social media. Grave ba yun? Parang hindi naman yata. Maraming iba na mas mabigat pa ang kasalanan pero hindi naman tinanggal.” Alvarez said.
Further, Alvarez suspected that the petty grounds used to expel Cong. Teves is just an excuse and that the real reason is the assassination of Governor Roel Degamo last March 4, 2023, with Teves as one of the suspected masterminds.
“Hindi ko alam kung ano yung involvement ni Cong. Teves dun sa nangyaring hindi makatarungang pagpaslang kay Gov. De Gamo. Kaya nga may hukuman, let due process take its course. Yung hukuman ang maghusga pagkatapos makita yung ebidensya, at kung nagkasala, edi hatulan nila, at tsaka nila tanggalin sa Kamara. Kahapon, parang sinabi ng Kongreso na sige, kami na lahat: judge, jury, and executioner.”
The legislator further elaborated that the Philippines is a democratic country and Cong. Teves was democratically elected. His removal, without court order, strikes at the cornerstone of the republican and democratic system of the State. The people who voted for him are now effectively deprived of representation and thus disenfranchised.
“Halal yan ng taong bayan, may mandate si Cong. Teves. Pero yung pinangunahan nila, shortcut kumbaga, tapos gumawa ng ganitong dahilan di raw kasi okay yung pinaglalalagay sa Facebook, kaya nila tatanggalin, kalokohan yan.” Alvarez said.
“Again, let due process take its course. Without law and due process, the definition of what justice is simply becomes whatever those in power says it is. How can that be right?” Alvarez asked.