News

NBI FILES MULTIPLE MURDER, OTHER CHARGES VS TEVES; Negros solon’s passport maybe canceled after filing of raps

By ALFRED GABOT, Editor in Chief

MANILA – After almost three months since the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine others in March in their Pamplona town compound, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed multiple murders, multiple attempted murders and multiple frustrated murders against fugitive Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. before the Department of Justice.

NBI Director Medardo de Lemos personally attended the filing of the complaints which also saw voluminous boxes of evidence submitted by the NBI to prosecutors to back up the charges of murder, multiple frustrated murder, and multiple attempted murder against Teves who continues to deny the charges.

Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla and the Department of Justice have yet to release a copy of the complaint though an earlier resolution indicting Teves’ former aide Marvin Miranda claimed there were two prior attempts to assassinate Degamo in December 2022 and February 2023 using a sniper rifle and a rocket propelled grenade launcher.
The DOJ is expected to summon Teves and require him to file his counter-affidavit.

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 said there were no other respondents in the complaints because the investigation was still ongoing.

Aside from Degamo, nine other people died in the March 4 massacre in Pamplona town, while 17 others were wounded. The slain governor was in the middle of a meeting with some of his constituents when several armed men entered his residential compound and opened fire.

Remulla earlier said Teves appears to be the main orchestrator of the killings, claiming he funded the planning and the firearms used. Teves has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Teves’ lawyer, however, said that he believes the cases filed are not airtight, as he cited reports that some suspect-witnesses recently began to refuse to give their statements to authorities.

The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics, meanwhile, denied the request by Degamo’s widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, for the expulsion of Teves from the lower chamber of Congress.
Rep. Felipe Espares of COOP-NATCCO, the panel’s chairperson,  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.

 

Remulla clarified that they initially received information that Teves purchased a ticket for a Philippine bound flight Wednesday. Teves’ camp, who has insisted that there are threats on his life, has denied that he had planned to return home.

Ang alam kasi namin ticketed na siya (What we know was that he is ticketed), basta we have sources to tell us his movements. We will not release it if we do not have any reasonable ground to believe that something was going to happen, something may happen and that’s part of it. We have our sources to tell us what the facts are,” Remulla said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Remulla have urged Teves to return to the country and face the charges. “Well, flight is an indication of guilt, by any language, by any jurisdiction, by any legal system,” the DOJ chief added.

Remulla said the presence of Teves is required if he wants to formally refute the allegations that he masterminded the attack which resulted in the death of their family’s political rival and nine others.

Di naman pwede in absentia i-file yan (It could not be filed in absentia). He [Teves] has to personally appear to swear by the contents of his counter affidavit,” the DOJ chief said adding that the same cannot be done by Teves online or before a Philippine embassy abroad.

“He cannot do that. He has to come home or they can file the case in court and the warrant will be issued in absentia,” Remulla said.

Remulla  said the government will formally cancel the passport of  Teves Jr.

Teves faced a 60-day suspension and possible expulsion from the House due to his failure to return to the Philippines from his medical treatment in the United States after his travel authority expired. The suspension runs until May 22.

Earlier this month, the Justice department bared that Teves sought political asylum from Timor-Leste, but the application was denied.

The Timor Leste government has subsequently turned down Teves’ request but Teves is seeking reconsideration.

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