SUSPENDED Negros Oriental Third District Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr.
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THE Department of Justice (DoJ) said on Saturday that the hunt for former Negros Oriental 3rd district representative Arnolfo Teves Jr., the prime suspect in the murder of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, is ongoing.
The DoJ said it has confirmed that Teves is still in East Timor.
“We always knew that [Teves] is in Timor Leste (East Timor). Now, it’s without a doubt,” said Justice Assistant Secretary Jose Dominic Clavano, noting the DoJ received the information from the camp of boxing legend and former senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.
“Teves went to the airport to meet Pacquiao and even went to the events attended by the former senator,” he added.
Clavano said the meeting between the former senator and Teves was only by chance and not arranged.
Degamo’s widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, posted a video on social media on Friday, showing Teves embracing Pacquiao upon the latter’s arrival in East Timor earlier this week. “Not only does this interaction raise serious ethical and legal questions, it undermines our nation’s international image,” Mayor Degamo said in a message accompanying the video.
“And it demonstrates Arnie Teves’ continued disrespect for our laws and judicial system as he so brazenly flaunts his freedom while being actively hunted for the murders of 14 of our fellow Negrenses, including my husband,” she added.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said they received information that Teves is being protected by some “warlords” in the country where he is hiding.
Teves was reported to be shuttling between Cambodia and East Timor, where he was seeking political asylum after being accused of masterminding the murder of Degamo and 10 others on March 4, 2023, at the governor’s house in Pamplona, Negros Oriental.
“He’s still there, still in Southeast Asia, supposedly under the protection of a few local warlords, that’s news to us, but we’ll see because that’s Asean. Under Asean, we can actually ask them more upfront about what’s happening in their country, especially if it is somebody who is a known terrorist being harbored by anybody,” Remulla said.
The DoJ has recommended to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the United Nations be informed that a warrant of arrest was issued against the Teves.
On September 5, a Manila court issued an arrest warrant against Teves and three of his alleged cohorts over the killing of Degamo and nine others.
In July, the Anti-Terrorism Council designated Teves, his brother, former Negros Oriental governor Pryde Henry Teves, and 11 others as “terrorist individuals” for their involvement in Degamo’s murder.
On August 16, Teves was expelled from the House of Representatives after being implicated in the crime.
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