Filtered By: Topstories

Manila court orders cancellation of Arnie Teves’ passport

A Manila court has ordered the cancellation of the passport of former Negros Oriental representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr., the alleged mastermind behind the killing of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo.

In its 14-page order, the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 51 ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel the passport of Teves. It also directed the National Bureau of Investigation to take proper steps for Teves to be brought back to the country.

According to the Manila RTC, the prosecution established that Teves is a fugitive from justice.

“Further, his right to travel can be impaired as his case involves public safety per the findings/ designation of the Anti-Terror Council. His actions as well as his group indeed created fear and intimidation of the local population and government of Negros Oriental undermining public safety,” it said.

“Thus, there exists basis or grounds for the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel accused Teves, Jr.’s passport. Accused Arnolfo Teves, Jr. is not entitled to relief from the court,” it added.

The court noted that when the March 4, 2023 killing of Degamo and others took place, Teves was in the United States under a travel authority that covered the period from February 9, 2023 to March 9, 2023.

It said that Teves was bound to return to the country after the expiration of his travel authority but he failed to do so. 

The court stressed that it also issued a warrant of arrest against Teves in September 2023 while the Anti-Terrorism Council designated him and others as terrorists.

“In the normal course of events, after the issuance of a warrant of arrest, an accused is either arrested or voluntarily surrenders. In either case, an accused eager to prove or assert his innocence longs for the wheels of justice to move,” it said.

“Not in this case. Accused Teves, Jr. in utter disrespect of the court and willful disregard of the law, refuses to yield. By his refusal to come back to face his cases and his consistent flight mode, he deliberately continues to frustrate the ends of justice,” it added.

The court said that Teves’ acts are “calculated to put himself beyond the reach” of the court.

In a statement, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla stressed that the government will not allow individuals charged with heinous crimes to evade the legal process.

"This is a clear message that our society demands accountability, and we shall leave no stone unturned to bring alleged perpetrators to book. Our resolve to create a just and fair Philippine society for all is stronger than ever," Remulla said.

However, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, the legal counsel of Teves, said the order is not final and executory. 

“There is still an entire slew of legal remedies available to us in order to reverse the same, and we fully intend to resort to all of them,” Topacio said in a statement.

He said it was “amusing” for their camp that Remulla was talking as if Teves has been convicted.

“I suppose that if you have a very weak case, every tiny victory is a cause for celebration. Mr. Remulla must be reminded that there is no rational connection between the cancellation of the passport and Rep. Teves' guilt as either an alleged terrorist or an accused in a criminal case. As always, the presumption of innocence remains.”—AOL, GMA Integrated News