![20230511_004602.jpg](https://storage.googleapis.com/mb-mkt-neo-prod-1-uploads/20230511_004602_44b3c67d9a/20230511_004602_44b3c67d9a.jpg) House Speaker Martin Romualdez (left), Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. (Speaker's office, Facebook)

House Speaker Martin Romualdez reminded Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. that the privileges and immunities of a congressman shouldn't be used to evade justice. Romualdez had this to say in an interview Wednesday night, May 10 with Manila-based reporters on the sidelines of  the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Indonesia. The House leader was asked about the suspended Teves, who recently sought political asylum from ASEAN observer-country, Timor-Leste. The asylum request was denied. "Right now ay suspendido siya ngayon, wala siyang rights or mga privileges sa Kongreso (He is suspended right now, he has no rights or privileges in Congress), Romualdez said. "The rights, privileges and immunities of a congressman is for the discharge of the legislative functions that he has, to make sure that he can perform as a legislator in the service of his constituents. Those rights, those privileges and those immunities are not meant for congressmen to use it to evade or to avoid justice," said the Leyte 1st district representative in Philippine Congress. "So Cong. Arnie Teves umuwi ka na (come home) and face the music and let justice take its course," Romualdez added. Teves a former deputy speaker, is tagged as the mastermind of the March 4 assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo. Although he has claimed innocence, he has refused to heed calls from the Speaker to come back home to the Philippines for fear of his life. Teves left the country last Feb. 28, with his travel authority from the House of Representatives having long been expired. Last March 15, the 300-strong House unanimously voted to hand down a 60-day suspension on Teves for "disorderly behavior".

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2023/5/10/privileges-immunities-of-congressmen-aren-t-for-evading-justice-romualdez-tells-teves-1)