SPEAKER Martin G. Romualdez during the opening of the 19th Congress at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on July 25, 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

HOUSE Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez will serve as caretaker of Negros Orientals third district during the 60-day suspension of its representative, Arnolfo A. Teves, Jr., he said on Thursday.  

In the interest of the people of the 3rd District of Negros Oriental, the undersigned shall act as the Legislative Caretakerfor the period 23 March 2023 to 22 May 2023. This order takes effect immediately,states a memorandum from the Office of the Speaker.  

Mr. Teves, who is out of the country, has been linked to the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel R. Degamo. He was also recently charged with murder complaints over three killings in 2019.  

Before going on a break, the House of Representatives slapped a 60-day suspension on Mr. Teves for his absence without authority. The House ethics and privileges committee initially gave him five days to explain his whereabouts and another 24 hours to physically appear in Congress after his travel clearance expired on March 9. 

Under our leadership, the House of Representatives will never ever countenance any conduct unbecoming of a House member,Mr. Romualdez told the plenary.  

According to House rules, a suspended lawmaker cannot attend sessions and will not receive salary and compensation. 

Mr. Teves justified his absence through videos posted on his Facebook page, saying that he fears for his safety.  

The Department of Justice said on Thursday that a case against Mr. Teves may be filed on Friday. Beatriz Marie D. Cruz