Suspended Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. on Saturday alleged that the government was making a “trophy” out of him by tagging him as the mastermind behind the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
“Feeling ko, ginagawa nila kaming, other than business interest, ginagawa nila kaming trophy. Pareho kami ni [former Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald] Bantag. Na gusto na nilang kumita, gusto pa nilang sumikat,” Teves said in a media briefing.
(I feel that other than business interests, they are making a trophy out of us. Both I and Bantag are in the same situation. They not only want to profit, but they also want to become famous.)
However, responding to Teves' and his representatives' comments, Justice Department Spokesperson Mico Clavano told GMA News Online, "We are and will always be evidence-based."
Teves earlier accused authorities of raiding another of his properties, this time a poultry farm.
“This is really persecution already. Sobra na ito, hindi na ito dapat. Mali na talaga. Sobra na ang pang-aapak sa karapatang pantao,” Teves said.
(This is too much, this is improper. This is wrong. They've completely disregarded human rights.)
But according to a report on "24 Oras", the PNP Joint Task Force, the AFP, the CIDG, and the NBI have denied conducting a raid on Teves' property.
As to what the government would gain from his prosecution, Teves said it was a “show of force.”
“Hindi naman sa pagmamayabang, may pangalan na rin tayo. Eh ‘di magmumukha silang malakas, na napatumba nila ‘yung isang tao na... siyempre meron din naman tayong standing sa publiko, maraming followers, kilala rin tayo nang kaunti,” he said.
(Not to brag, but I have a name. They will appear to be strong after they knock down someone who is... of course, I also have standing in the public, with many followers, and a bit well-known.)
Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Teves’ lawyer, meanwhile said that assuming authorities had sufficient evidence that the lawmaker illegally possessed firearms and explosives, it did not follow that he should be declared a terrorist.
Topacio stressed that the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was made to address Islamic fundamentalism during the Marawi siege and the armed communist insurgency.
“If you weaponize the law for a purpose of which it was not enacted, para mong sinampal sa mukha ‘yung Kongreso, para mong sinampal sa mukha ang justice system natin (It seemed you slapped the Congress and the justice system in its face). Distortion, perversion ‘yan ng batas (That is distortion and perversion of the law),” Topacio said. — DVM, GMA Integrated News