By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has advised embattled Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. to return home after the rejection of his political asylum bid in Timor-Leste.
“Come home. That’s the best advice I can give him. Come home,” Marcos said in a media interview Thursday while on board PR001, when asked about his words for Teves.
Teves’ failed attempt to seek asylum was discussed during Marcos’ bilateral meeting with Timor-Leste Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak on the sidelines of the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia on Thursday.
Marcos said Ruak had told him that Teves could still challenge Timor-Leste’s decision not to grant political asylum to the fugitive lawmaker.
“It turns out that Congressman Arnie Teves applied for political asylum but was denied. Ganoon lang (That’s it),” he said.
“So, I think they will continue to go through the process. May appeal process para sa (There is an appeal process for) those who are applying,” he added.
Marcos said the Philippine government would wait for the conclusion of Teves’ asylum rejection case in Timor-Leste.
“We’ll just wait for the process to complete,” he said.
Marcos, during his bilateral meeting with Ruak, thanked Timor-Leste for its “quick” rejection of Teves’ application for political asylum.
On Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported that Timor-Leste had turned down Teves’ request for political asylum and ordered him to leave the country within five days.
The Department of Justice on Wednesday said the Philippine government would formally cancel Teves’ passport shortly after the filing of criminal charges against him.
The DOJ is expected to file complaints against Teves by May 15.
House of Representatives Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday urged Teves to return to the Philippines and face the charges in connection with the brutal killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine other individuals on March 4.
Romualdez said the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges might recommend further sanctions against Teves if the latter fails to come home.
The House suspended Teves for 60 days late in March for failure to return to the country and face the ethics panel despite the expiration of his travel authority on March 9. (PNA)