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Murder cases filed vs. Teves

NBI files raps at DOJ, solon still abroad

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed criminal complaints against Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. for his alleged involvement in the killing of 10 persons, including Negros Oriental Gov. Roel R. Degamo on March 4, 2023.

The complaints were filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ), which is expected to summon Teves and require him to file his counter-affidavit.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said Teves was charged with multiple counts of murder, multiple counts of frustrated murder, and multiple counts of attempted murder.

Remulla said there were no other respondents in the complaints.

CASE FILES. National Bureau of Investigation Director Medardo G. de Lemos walks after NBI officers carrying boxes of evidence on the murder case of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo as they filed ten counts of murder and frustrated murder against Rep. Arnie Teves at the Department of Justice in Manila on Wednesday. Danny Pata 

“What I know is Teves is the only respondent in the complaint that was filed because the investigation is still ongoing for other cases and other suspects and other roles and crimes,” he said.

Remulla said once the summons are issued to Teves’ last known address, the suspended legislator “has to personally appear to swear by the contents of his counter-affidavit.”

“He has to come home or they will file the case in court and a warrant will be issued in absentia,” Remulla said.

If a warrant of arrest is issued and Teves is not arrested or refuses to surrender, then he becomes a fugitive from justice.

“He will lose a lot of things if he becomes a fugitive. Cancellation of passport is one. So, he will have a hard time moving around,” Remulla said.

Remulla also stood pat on his disclosure that Teves was to return to the Philippines on Wednesday, May 17.

He said Teves is “ticketed” or has secured a ticket for a flight to the Philippines, noting that the Department of Foreign Affairs cannot cancel the lawmaker’s passport “unless there are legal grounds.”

The three grounds for the cancellation of a passport are 1) if a person is a fugitive from justice, 2) has been convicted by final judgment, or 3) the passport was tampered with or fraudulently secured.

Teves is not yet a fugitive from justice since no warrant of arrest has been issued against him so far, and no final judgment rendered by a court yet, Remulla said.

No complaint has been filed about Teves using a tampered passport either, he added.

“The filing of criminal raps by NBI is for the purpose of preliminary investigation where DOJ will still determine probable cause, or there is sufficient basis to indict in court for committing the crime charged,” the Justice chief said.

Teves has denied Remulla’s claim.

“That is fake news,” Teves said in a radio interview. “They should have asked me first before they talked,” he added in Filipino.

Citing a “reliable source” who may have access to flight data into the country, Remula said on Tuesday that Teves was likely to return to the country from Timor Leste, where he applied for political asylum but was rejected.

“What we know is that Teves secured tickets. We have sources who tell us his movements,” Remulla said.

Nonetheless, the DOJ chief said Teves has to return to the country to face the charges against him.

“Flight is an indication of guilt by any language, by any jurisdiction, in any legal system. It is an indication of guilt,” he emphasized.

Teves has been tagged as “one of the masterminds” in the Degamo slaying.

The suspended lawmaker has not returned to the country despite the expiration of his travel authority on March 9. He has denied all the allegations against him.

The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics is set to investigate next week Teves’ reported application o for political asylum in Timor Leste.

Rep. Felipe Espares of COOP-NATCCO, the panel’s chairperson, at the same time, rejected Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo’s letter, which sought Teves’s expulsion from the chamber.

Espares said the committee will hold a meeting on May 23, a day after the expiration of Teves’ 60-day suspension for his continued absence without travel authority.

The committee vice chairperson, Rep. Rossana Vergara of Nueva Ecija said the committee deliberation next week will assess Teves’s application for political asylum in Timor Leste.

Espares added the House ethics committee has to come up with a decision and possibly impose further sanctions on Teves should he maintain the apparent neglect of his legislative functions.

“We cannot afford a situation wherein someone can say the House did not do anything about this, especially involving disorderly behavior,” Espares said.

In the Senate, Senator Ronald dela Rosa said Tefves would be invited to the ongoing Senate hearings into the killing of Degamo.

Dela Rosa guaranteed that Teves will be treated fairly if he appears for a hearing.

Also on Wednesday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it has arrested an alleged gunman of the Teveses who has been linked to two assassination plots in Negros Oriental.

The police nabbed Police Staff Sgt. Noel Santa Ana Alabata alias, Alfonso Edena Tan, in front of the PDEG Building on Tuesday.

Alabata was served two arrest warrants for cases of attempted murder and attempted homicide issued by two courts in Dumaguete City. — Rey E. Requejo and Maricel Cruz

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