The Commission on Elections has announced it will hold special elections on Dec. 9 for the vacant position of Representative for the Third District of Negros Oriental, following the ouster of Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. from the Philippine Congress.
Lawyer Eliseo Labaria, acting provincial election supervisor for Negros Oriental, announced Friday that their office has received Comelec Resolution 10945, setting the calendar of activities for special elections for the third district of Negros Oriental.
Labaria told the media the period set for the filing of Certificates of Candidacy will be from Nov. 6-8, and the campaign period will start on Nov. 9.
The delivery of election paraphernalia and ballots is expected soon, Labaria said.
Rep. Chiquiting Sagarbarria, provincial head of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, had earlier announced they will support the candidacy of Pamplona Mayor Janice Vallega-Degamo, widow of Gov. Roel Degamo, should she wish to run for Congress to fill the vacant seat.
Arnie Teves was expelled by the House of Representatives by a vote of 265 lawmakers for disorderly behavior and violation of the Code of Conduct. Only three lawmakers abstained from the vote, and one lawmaker changed his vote to a negative vote a few days later.
The House Committee on Ethics & Privileges had recommended to unseat Teves. COOP-NATCCO Party List Rep. Felimon Espares, committee chair, first read the panel report before the plenary.
“As the branch of government upon which the power to make laws has been reposed by the Constitution, members of the legislature should be held to account to a higher ethical standard especially when the acts complained of violate the very same laws Congress has arduously passed,” he said. “As stewards of the public trust, the members of the House of Representatives are imbued with a sacred responsibility to embody the highest standards of ethical conduct,” Congressman Espares added.
The Committee tackled three issues to determine whether to expel Arnie Teves or not: 1) his continued pursuit of political asylum, which lawmakers deemed tantamount to abandoning his public office; 2) his long absence, which was not allowed as he was only authorized to go on a medical trip from Feb. 28 to March 9; and 3) his indecent behavior when he uploaded on social media a video of him dancing while wearing only his undergarments.
“After a thorough deliberation and following numerous meetings, while observing fairness and due process, the Committee on Ethics & Privileges unanimously recommends that the penalty of expulsion from the House of Representatives be imposed on Rep. Arnolfo ‘Arnie’ A. Teves Jr. for disorderly behavior, and for violation of the Code of Conduct of the House of Representatives,” Congressman Espares told his peers during the plenary.
Teves had also been suspended twice for 60 days by the same panel after he failed to return to the country, and report to House Speaker Martin Romualdez as requested.
Arnie Teves, who continues to live abroad, has repeatedly refused to return to the country, citing security reasons for himself and his family.
On Aug. 1st, Arnie Teves, his brother former Gov. Henry Teves, and 11 others were tagged as terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council.
The ATC held Arnie Teves responsible for the spate of violence in Negros Oriental, a charge he has repeatedly denied.
Arnie Teves was also charged three weeks ago for the March 4 murder of Governor Degamo and 10 others in their compound in Pamplona, Negros Oriental. (AP)