Despite earlier statements made by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio that his client, former congressman Arnie Teves of Negros Oriental has been released from Becoro Prison in Dili, Timor-Leste, the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed that Teves has been re-arrested and is currently in the custody of the national police. 

Atty. Topacio earlier said Teves is “out of jail.”

“Rep. Arnolfo Teves was released from preventive detention pending his extradition trial, my Timor Leste (TL) counterparts inform me, because the request for extradition by the Philippine Government was made out of time and in a manner that is not sanctioned by practice and customary international law,” Topacio said, in a report by “Unang Balita” on June 11, 2024.

Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, widow of slain Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo, cited a statement from the DOJ that reads:

“The release and subsequent re-arrest of the former congressman from prison to the Polícia Nacional of Timor Leste is part of the country’s process. The Department was able to submit all requirements ahead of time and in a manner fully compliant with Timor Leste’s law. Thus, the statements of Atty. Topacio are misleading, highly irresponsible and an insult to both countries. He ought to know that while he owes fealty to his client, he remains an officer of the court and must act accordingly to maintain its majesty and integrity.”

DOJ pointed out as an update that the Polícia Nacional of Timor Leste (PNTL) has taken him into custody to continue to stand trial for his anticipated extradition.

“The Department is confident that the extradition proceedings will be successful. In addition, the former congressman may also still be deported depending on the direction taken by the Timor Leste government in coordination with the Philippines,” the statement added. 

Further, the DOJ said that it has appreciated the steps being undertaken currently by the Timor Leste government to "remove him [Teves] from their territory and we eagerly anticipate his return to the Philippines so he can face the multiple murder charges.”

Mayor Degamo, in her post, said that Arnie used his 37 minutes of freedom for a photo opportunity in an attempt to deceive the public.

“Arnie Teves and his team used his 37 minutes of freedom before being re-arrested for a photo-op to attempt to mislead the public.”