Teves family aides hit police pressure anew
MANILA, Philippines — Three of those arrested during the raid on a compound said to be owned by the family of suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. are claiming that policemen are pressuring them to accuse the lawmaker and his brother, former Negros Oriental Gov. Pryde Henry Teves, as the ones who ordered them to bury the cache of firearms and ammunition seized during the operation.
According to lawyer Michael Mella, his clients Negil Electona, Jeson Timtim and Dionilo Mayagma Jr. are eyeing to file a complaint against the police officers before the Commission on Human Rights.
“They told me that they were being pressured to admit that Rep. Teves and his brother Gov. Pryde ordered them to bury the firearms recovered during the raid,” Mella told reporters.
He said his clients did not name names but he assumed that these people involved members of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, where the three suspects are currently detained.
Mella said his clients were being threatened with “malicious” cases that would be filed against them if they do not cooperate.
“There were psychological and emotional pressures involved,” he added.
No murder charges yet
Ferdinand Topacio, Teves’ lawyer, urged Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos to look into the alleged pressure being exerted by the police against the suspects.
It was not clear what bearing the supposed pressure has on the assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others on March 4. No murder charges have yet been filed against the Teves brothers.
Several cases have been filed in at least two Negros Oriental courts before the cases were transferred to Manila.
Abalos said on Monday that the arrests of the suspects were made on the strength of a proper warrant and subsequent searches yielded sufficient evidence to implicate them in the killings.
At least two searches on the residences of two arrested suspects yielded maps, sketch plans, and pictures of the governor and his residence.
Abalos said that the search warrant against Nigel Eloctono resulted in the seizure of firearms, ammunition, hand grenade, pictures of governor Degamo and his family, maps, a picture of the gate of the residence of governor Degamo, and other items “believed to have been used during the planning stage of the murder.”
Firearms, grenades found
The second warrant, against an unidentified suspect, also yielded firearms, grenades, a sketch plan and a picture of a building were also seized.
This comes after the raid on the five-hectare property in Barangay Caranoche, Sta. Catalina town, included a sugar mill operated by HDJ Bayawan Agri-Venture Corp. of which Pryde Henry, the younger brother of the congressman and himself a former governor before Degamo, serves as president.
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