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Murder raps filed vs. Arnie Teves, five others over 2019 killings

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said on Tuesday that prosecutors filed murder charges against suspended Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. and five others over killings in the province in 2019.

"Eventually filed this late PM," Malcontento said in a message to reporters.

Murder charges were also filed in court against Hannah Mae Sumerano, Richard "Boy" Cuadra, Jasper "Bobong" Tanasan, Alex Mayagma, and Rolando Pinili.

The case stemmed from the deaths of Michael Dungog, a former board member in the third district of Negros Oriental; Lester Bato, a bodyguard for Basay mayoralty candidate Cliff Cordoval; and Pacito Libron, an alleged hitman.

Teves’ camp previously said that they were not surprised by the government's decision to press charges, reiterating that the proceedings before the Justice Department were "reduced to nothing more than moro-moro.''

GMA News Online has sought comment from the Teves camp regarding the indictment but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.

Teves is also being pointed to as the mastermind behind the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine others on March 4. The lawmaker has repeatedly denied involvement in the incident. 

The Anti-Terrorism Council recently designated Teves and 12 others as terrorists for committing terrorism; planning, training, preparing, and facilitating the commission of terrorism; recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization; and providing material support to terrorists.

Teves has yet to return to the country, citing fears for his safety. — VBL, GMA Integrated News