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Accountability in Public Office



The expulsion of former Deputy House Speaker Congressman Arnolfo Teves, Jr of the Third District of Negros Oriental, upon recommendation of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges due to chronic absence and abandoning his public office, is a first and will go down in history as one momentous decision made by Congress in ensuring and protecting public sector accountability by elected officials. As reported in media, Teves has continued to seek political asylum since a string of murder cases have been filed against him, including the ambush in broad daylight of an NBI agent four years ago, and the slay of Negros Oriental Governor Noel Degamo. Political asylum is the right to live in a foreign country, given by the government to those who have to leave their own country amid the danger of persecution.


Teves was expelled from the Roll of House of Representatives with 256 lawmakers voting to affirm the Committee’s recommendation, and none of those present voting in the negative.


The political will and commitment to the public manifested by this decision of Congress is indeed noteworthy. Article XI, Section I of the Philippine Constitution states: “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives”. The character of Congressman Teves’ continued political asylum and the issues that he is confronted with at this point are incompatible with these salient provisions of the Constitution.


QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:


“Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.”

- Margaret Chase Smith”


FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:


“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God”

Romans 13:13

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