The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to issue an international lookout bulletin on Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. next week, according to Mav Gonzales’ “24 Oras Weekend” report on Saturday.
"We have taken precautions and we will take further precautions kasi padagdag nang padagdag iyong mga kaso natin. So, all those that are in relation to the Degamo slay, we have taken concrete steps na maglabas po ng international lookout bulletin, pinag-usapan po natin ang paglagay ng mga tao sa INTERPOL Blue Notice,” DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano said at a media briefing in Quezon City.
(We have taken precautions, and we will take further precautions because the complaints are increasing. So, all those that are in relation to the Degamo slay, we have taken concrete steps to issue an international lookout bulletin. We are looking at asking INTERPOL to issue a Blue Notice.)
"We hope to do that maybe next week, just so that we are aware doon sa movements ng ating mga respondents who may very well be involved in the Degamo slay and who may be vital doon sa ating investigation," he added.
(We hope to do that maybe next week, just so that we are aware of the movements of the respondents, who may very well be involved in the Degamo slay and who may be vital to our investigation.)
The color-coded notices, according to the website of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), are "international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information."
The Blue Notice is meant "to collect additional information about a person’s identity, location, or activities in relation to a criminal investigation," INTERPOL said.
Clavano said Teves “is one of those that we are suspecting to be the mastermind behind the Degamo slay.” However, “everyone has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty," he added.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla had said Teves already left the United States and was “somewhere in Asia.”
The DOJ said they had expected Teves to return to the country after Speaker Martin Romualdez urged him to reconsider his decision to stay away in the meantime amid the complaints filed against him.
If necessary, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) can request to deport Teves from the country he is currently staying in.
"It’s more of the DFA’s jurisdiction to ask for or to request deportation dahil sila po iyong may jurisdiction doon sa mga foreign relations po natin," Clavano said.
(It's more of the DFA's jurisdiction to ask for or to request deportation because they have jurisdiction over our foreign relations.)
"Although, of course, we’d want to exhaust lahat ng remedies natin [so as] not to go through that type of route na mag-request po tayo ng deportation. So, as of right now, siguro nananawagan lang po si Speaker (Martin) Romualdez, Secretary Remulla na umuwi na lang muna si (Teves), on his own volition," he added.
(Although, of course, we'd want to exhaust all remedies so as not to go through that type of route: requesting deportation. So, as of right now, Speaker Romualdez and Secretary Remulla are urging Congressman Teves to return to the country on his own volition.)
GMA Integrated News has sought Teves’ reaction to the development, but neither he nor his representatives had responded as of posting time.
Meanwhile, the DOJ dismissed one complaint of illegal possession of firearms and unlawful possession of explosives filed against Teves due to lack of evidence.
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. The Teveses are political rivals of the Degamo family.
Teves earlier asked the House leadership to grant him a two-month leave of absence, citing a "very grave threat" to his life and his family.
Meanwhile, aside from four suspects that were arrested and are facing charges for the Degamo slay, authorities are still investigating 10 more individuals, Clavano said.
“Mas marami pa po ‘no sa sampu iyong na involved sa investigation ho natin. Lumalabas po sa mga statements na mayroon po tayong parang layering na tinatawag ‘no – so mayroon po tayong mga gunmen, mga directly involved po doon sa assassination bilang driver, lookout iyong mga ganoon… tapos meron ho tayong handler or parang middleman ‘no na tinatawag. So ito iyong nagsisilbing parang layer of security doon sa ating mastermind,” he said.
(There are more than 10 involved in our investigation. Statements showed that there seems to be layering. So there are gunmen, those who are directly involved in the assassination as driver, lookout. and then there is a handler or middleman. So these serve as a sort of layer of security for the mastermind.)
Clavano added that they have a solid case buildup and they "just have to close all the little gaps." — Richa Noriega/DVM/VBL/KG, GMA Integrated News