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Negros Oriental Rep. Teves will face murder allegations — Topacio

Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. will face the allegations of murder against him, his lawyer said Friday.

“Ang ina-assure niya po sa akin ay haharapin niya po itong mga kasong ito and titignan lang po natin kasi masyadong mabilis naman po yung developments,” Atty. Ferdinand Topacio told Super Radyo dzBB.

When asked if Teves will not hide, Topacio answered, “Oo naman po [Yes, of course].” 

According to Topacio, they are coordinating with Teves for his return to the Philippines from the United States.

A document from the Office of the House Secretary General Reginald Velasco showed that Teves was cleared to travel to the US from February 28 to March 9 for a personal trip.

“Opo, nakikipag-ugnayan po kami sa kanya kasi alam niyo po for medical reasons po kasi yung kanyang biyahe at tinitignan po namin kung maari [na] siyang makabalik,” he said.

[We are coordinating with him because his trip was for medical reasons and we are determining if he will be fit to return.]

Murder charges

On Tuesday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed three counts of murder against Teves for allegedly being the mastermind behind the killings in 2019.

Earlier in the day, police conducted raids on five houses, some of which belonged to Teves, in search for loose firearms. Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said the raid is connected with the 2019 incident

On Thursday, suspects named a certain “Cong Teves” as the person behind the fatal attack against Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

The incumbent congressman in Negros Oriental is Arnie Teves. His brother, former Bayawan City Mayor Pryde Henry Teves, also served as a representative before running against Degamo in the 2022 elections.

Teves, for his part, said he and his brother were not involved in the attack against Degamo.

No case

According to Topacio, they have yet to receive a subpoena from the Department of Justice regarding the filed complaints.

“Sapagkat as far as we are concerned, until and unless we get a subpoena mula sa ating DOJ or any prosecution’s office, there is still no case at this time,” Topacio said.

“Actually, yung Degamo po there is still no case kasi wala pa pong— hindi pa nga nag start yung proseso. Marami lang pong ano nagsasabi na ganito at ganon but at this point these are all conjectures, these are all opinions eh wala pa pong factual basis para sabihin o may kaso man lang si Congressman Teves,” he added.

Degamo and five others were shot dead in broad daylight while he was distributing aid to his constituents at his residence in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on Saturday. Several others were critically wounded in the attack, and the following day, the death toll climbed to nine.

Prosecutors have filed murder and frustrated murder charges against four suspects in the killing of Degamo.

In the same interview, Topacio again urged the public to exercise sobriety in the case, saying it is easy to conclude and that “passions are high.”

“Pero hindi naman po dito nagtatapos. In fact, this is barely the beginning of a criminal investigation,” he said.

“Kaya yung mga statements na case closed, solve na, etc. ay medyo ‘wag muna nating sabihin ‘yan sapagkat until a person is convicted by finality in a court of law ay hindi pa po case closed yan,” he added.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla previously said he believes that the “end is near” for the investigation. He also revealed that the suspects in the killing of Degamo had a video call with an unknown mastermind. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News