DOJ: Deportation ‘most logical process’ to bring Teves home
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is considering seeking the deportation of suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., who is tagged as one of the masterminds in the assassination of Gov. Roel Degamo.
“Yes, that’s actually a possibility,” said DOJ assistant secretary spokesperson Mico Clavano in an interview with OneNews on Wednesday.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Tuesday said Teves may still be in Cambodia.
According to Clavano, deportation is the “most logical process” to bring Teves home since the country has no extradition treaty with Cambodia.
Clavano said he himself was surprised to know that the Philippines only has extradition treaties with 13 different countries.
Currently, 11 suspects, including one of the masterminds identified as Marvin Miranda, are in the custody of the authorities. Miranda reportedly recruited people to participate in the brazen daytime assassination of Degamo.
Teves has not yet been impleaded in the criminal complaints over the assassination of Degamo, which also killed eight civilians and injured at least 18 others, on March 4.
“We must observe due process. We could not file charges against him without a preliminary investigation, where he could answer the charges by filing a counter-affidavit,” Remulla said earlier.
“That’s what we’re only waiting for. But otherwise, the boxing [match] is finished, we have arrested all of the [main suspects],” he added.
Without being indicted by prosecutors, the case against Teves could not be elevated to the courts, which have the authority to issue a warrant of arrest.
But with the evidence authorities currently have, Remulla said he was certain that a warrant against Teves would be issued by the court.
Teves is facing separate criminal complaints filed by the police before the DOJ in connection with the 2019 killings of at least three people in Negros Oriental, including former board member Miguel Dungog, a Degamo ally.
The Philippine National Police has also filed complaints against Teves and his sons Kurt Matthew and Axel with the DOJ in connection with the cache of weapons and explosives discovered in some of the lawmaker’s residential properties in the province.
The suspended lawmaker has not returned to the Philippines since he left for a medical trip last March.
Teves has denied involvement in Degamo’s murder. He also claimed receiving threats to his life and family after being linked to the case — a reason why he opted to defer his homecoming.