Speaker Martin romualdez said that Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves has refused to return to the country for fear of his safety and that of his family.
Teves' name was implicated in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, and other crime incidents in the province.
“Cong Arnie Teves got in touch with me through a phone call last night from an undetermined location,” said Romualdez.
“He expressed fear for the safety of his person and his family, saying this is why he refuses to return home at this time,” added the leader of the House of Representatives.
Teves' name was implicated in the murder of Degamo, a political opponent of his family.
Armed men attacked Degamo's house on March 4. Besides the governor, eight others were killed, and 17 were wounded.
Recently, Teves was charged with a complaint of four counts of murder at the Department of Justice related to a separate incident of murder in 2019.
Romualdez assured Teves that he would ensure his safety when he returned to the country.
Speaker Romualdez: Rep. Teves fears for his safety
He had earlier encouraged the congressman to go home and answer the allegations being thrown at him.
“I assured him that the Speaker, as the political and administrative leader of the House of Representatives, will exert all efforts to ensure the personal safety of all Members,” Romualdez said.
“I have ordered the House Sergeant-at-Arms to coordinate with law enforcement agencies and prepare appropriate security arrangements for his return,” he added.
Romualdez also reminded that Teves' authority to travel outside the country has expired so he should go home.
Meanwhile, the camp of Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. assured that the lawmaker is “not hiding” abroad after being accused of being the mastermind behind the killing of Gov. Roel Degamo — but he said he would only return to the Philippines if his case is handled fairly.
Ferdinand Topacio, Teves' lawyer, said they need assurance from the authorities that he will not immediately be judged “guilty” until a proper investigation is conducted.
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