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Suspects nabbed in Teves properties brought to NCR, deny wrongdoing

Several of the six suspects nabbed in the properties belonging to Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. refuted the allegations leveled against the congressman, according to John Consulta’s “24 Oras Weekend” report on Saturday.

The six arrested Teves supporters were brought to Metro Manila and arrived at the NAIA Terminal 3 at 11 a.m. on Saturday. They were immediately brought to Camp Crame in Quezon City.

“We will file the necessary complaints before the state prosecutor dito sa DOJ, there is too much tension in the area. Follow-up doon sa mga finile naming kaso, before I think last week and we have the informant with us,” CIDG National Capital Region (NCR) chief Police Colonel Hansel Marantan said.

“Wala sila eh. Sa tingin mo ba yung mga firearms na nakuha ko hindi ko sila aarestuhin pagnandoon sila? So that answers the question already, wala sila doon kaya di sila nakapagparticipate,” he added.

Three of the arrested Teves supporters spoke with GMA Integrated News.

“Hindi naman po kami violente eh, hindi naman po kami bastos pero marami kasing parang pumupunta roon umaaligid na hindi namin kilala. So mas mabuti na rin na... kami kaysa parang wala kaming self-defense kasi hindi po kami maka-afford ng mga bodyguards,” arrested Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman Joseph Kyle Maturan said.

Another arrested suspect Rodolfo Maturan said his confiscated firearms had legal documents.

“Kuwan lang hilig lang. May papel din 'yon, may lisensya din,” he said.

Hannah Mae Oray, Teves’ secretary, defended the congressman on the alleged killings.

“Hindi talaga magagawa ni congressman yun sir. Hindi naman ganoon si sir Arnie, mabait naman siyang tao,” Oray said.

The CIDG, however, said they have strong evidence against Teves, especially a member of the alleged “hit squad” of Teves.

“Personally, alam niya yung mga previous na nangyari,” Marantan said.

Officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Justice (DOJ), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) held a meeting at the DILG office to discuss the ongoing investigation.

“It is a territorial concept that people in charge of a certain locality should know what is happening in their locality. Maraming repercussions. People will be debriefed, maraming idede-brief. Alam na ng pulis ang kailangan nilang gawin. We are very ahead in the evidence-gathering game. Okay tayo, we are doing well,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos earlier said there were statements about illegal firearms during the investigation into the murder complaints recently filed against Teves for killings committed in 2019.

Two arrested suspects, Joric Labrador and Benjie Rodriguez, both former soldiers, earlier said a certain “Cong Teves” ordered the hit on Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, who was killed at his residence in Pamplona town on March 4.

Teves denied that he and his brother Henry were involved in the killing of Degamo amid allegations that the incident was politically motivated.

Authorities raided the houses belonging to Teves in Negros Oriental in search of loose firearms on Friday.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said among the recovered firearms were three hand grenades, 10 short Firearms, six rifles, 465 assorted live ammunition, 194 assorted empty shells, and 22 assorted magazines. — Richa Noriega/DVM, GMA Integrated News