Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Tuesday said suspended Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. may still be in Cambodia.
“I think he’s still in Cambodia. I think he’s still there,” Remulla said in an ambush interview when asked if authorities know the current whereabouts of the congressman.
Teves, who is being linked to the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, has yet to return to the Philippines due to security concerns.
Remulla had said that Teves appears to be the main mastermind behind the ploy, likening him to an “executive producer” who financed the operations.
For his part, Teves has denied that he and his brother, former Negros Oriental Governor Pryde Henry Teves, are involved in the killing.
Meeting with Pryde Teves
Meanwhile, Remulla revealed that he met with Pryde Henry before the Holy Week.
“He’s in the process of trying to clear his name that he was not involved. He was not involved in this incident. He had no idea this was going to happen and that he just wants to live in peace,” Remulla said.
“Yun ang sabi niya (that's what he said), he did not in any way participate in any of these things that happened,” he added.
According to Remulla, they had discussed matters at length but avoided matters that would compromise their positions as he was in the presence of a counsel.
However, when asked if authorities had evidence linking Pryde Henry to the crime, the Justice Secretary declined to comment.
“I don’t think that I should comment on that because it is what it is. How the facts stand, how the testimonies stand, will link everybody concerned to the crime,” he said.
Pryde Henry also submitted his counter-affidavit on the illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives filed against him at the Department of Justice.
He has previously waived his rights over his secrecy of bank deposits and communication logs.
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs will start its probe on Degamo's killing on April 17 at the request of Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, the widow of the slain governor.
Remulla, however, said senators should be careful to avoid discussing matters that could influence the investigation amid the looming Senate inquiry on the killing of the governor.
“Matters that are pending before the courts should not be discussed. They should try to avoid influencing people or having the effect of influencing the outcome of any investigation,” Remulla said.
“Well, the senators know where to draw the line. I would trust them that they would know where to draw the line, that they will not in any way— it will not interfere with the investigation of the executive,” he later added.
Degamo and eight others were killed while several others were injured after an attack at the governor's home in Negros Oriental on March 4 while he was distributing aid to his constituents. —VAL, GMA Integrated News