Arnie Teves reacts to DOJ’s plan to designate him as terrorist: ‘It’s becoming a circus’
MANILA, Philippines — Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. on Monday said that his alleged involvement in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo is “becoming a circus” as Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla revealed a plan by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to designate him a terrorist.
Teves said during a press conference via Zoom: “Ang pakiramdam ko sa totoo lang nakakatawa na. Nagiging perya na siya, it’s becoming [a] circus.”
(I actually feel it’s funny. It is starting to turn into a fair, a circus.)
“‘Di ba? Paano ka magiging terorista kung hindi ka pa nga nakakasuhan? Sabay paano ka magiging mastermind in the first place kung there’s nothing?” he added.
(Right? How can you be a terrorist if you haven’t even been charged? At the same time, how can you be a mastermind in the first place if there’s nothing?)
During Monday’s public inquiry into political killings by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, the DOJ chief told senators that they are now looking at “designating” Teves as a terrorist over his alleged role in the March 4 massacre of Degamo and eight others in Pamplona town, Negros Oriental province.
According to Remulla, the activities that led to the killing of Degamo and eight others were covered by the Anti-Terror Law (ATL).
ATL being weaponized; Remulla power tripping
In the same online press conference, the congressman’s lawyer accused Remulla of power tripping by “weaponizing” the ATL.
Atty. Ferdinand Topacio said the ATL has a specific definition of what terrorism is or of the crimes that are supposed to be in relation to sowing fear and panic among the people.
“Alam ninyo? Hindi ko malaman kung ano ang mararamdaman ng tao na alam ninyo na wine-weaponize nila ‘yung batas eh. Ano bang terrorismo ang ginagawa dito?” Topacio said.
(You know? I don’t know how people will feel when you know that they are weaponizing the law. What kind of terrorism is being done here?)
“… Para masunod ‘yung gusto mo? Para lang ma-break ang impasse, para lang sabihin mo na ikaw naman ang may gawa ng impasse? Iyon po ang mabigat diyan eh. Pero kung ikaliligaya po ni SOJ Remulla to wield his newfound power, kung power tripping siya, hindi natin mapipigilan siya,” he added.
(To follow what you want? Just to break the impasse, just to say that you are the one who created the impasse? That’s the heavy part, but if SOJ Remulla is happy to wield his newfound power, if he’s power tripping, we won’t be able to stop him.)
Teves has repeatedly denied any hand in the assassination of Degamo and eight others, reiterating that he will only go home once his safety is ensured.