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Counsel says Teves concerned about security; Remulla allays fears

The legal counsel of Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. on Monday said Teves has yet to return to the Philippines due to concerns about his security.

“So what is preventing Cong. Arnie from returning is basically ‘yung security to his safety,” Atty. Toby Diokno, Teves’ legal counsel, said at the Pandesal Forum.

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

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla last week said Teves has left the US and was “somewhere in Asia.”

According to Diokno, this was due to the revocation of his license to carry firearms, the murder complaints filed against him over 2019 killings, and the recent raids conducted in his houses.

Sought for his comment, Remulla assured Teves that he will be secured once he returns to the country.

“He will be secured. Hindi naman siya pababayaan. He will be secured,” Remulla said in an ambush interview.

Last week, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed three murder complaints against Teves for allegedly masterminding killings in 2019.

Following this, the CIDG raided houses belonging to Teves in Negros Oriental in search of loose firearms. Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said there were statements about illegal firearms during the investigation into the 2019 murder complaints.

“Madaling magsabi[ng] umuwi pero ‘pag alam mo na ayan ang hinaharap sa‘yo at ayan ang pinaghahandaan sa‘yo — not because you do not want to answer for the baseless accusations — but it’s actually more of security,” Diokno said.

(It’s easy to tell him to return but if you know that this is what you will face, what they are preparing for you — not because you do not want to answer the baseless accusations — but it’s actually more of security.)

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, another legal counsel, previously said Teves will face the allegations of murder against him.

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— RSJ, GMA Integrated News