At Senate probe, NBI exec links Teves to gambling
MANILA, Philippines — Suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. interfered in a raid conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on a facility operating “e-sabong” or online cockfighting in Cebu province last year, a senior NBI official told the Senate on Wednesday.
At the continuation of the Senate hearing into the murder of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, NBI Central Visayas chief Rennan Augustus Oliva supported the claim of the victim’s widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, that Teves was involved in e-sabong and Small Town Lottery (STL) operations in the province as well as Cebu.
Janice said that Teves and his family had been using gambling money to bribe police officers, judges, prosecutors, and other public officials to control the province. She also accused him of masterminding her husband’s killing on March 4.
Oliva said the representative and his aide, a certain Tomasino Aledro, went to his office on Sept. 20, 2022, and asked him who had authorized the NBI raid on a cockpit in Minglanilla town, Cebu, which resulted in the arrest of almost 40 people for livestreaming cockfights.
Teves, he added, informed him that he himself was not involved in e-sabong and that he had already “delegated” the gambling business to his friends.
According to Oliva, Teves then threatened to sue him after he rejected the congressman’s request to allow online cockfighting operations, which were being shown live on goperya.net, despite President Marcos’ order banning e-sabong.
“I just laughed [and] I told him, ‘You cannot tell me to betray my oath as a law enforcement officer. You just follow the order of the President,’” Oliva said.
“I told him frankly, ‘If you want to file a case, you file a case against me. I will answer it because it is not true. I am not afraid,’” he said.
Grilled by senators
Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who presided over the hearing as chair of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, meanwhile, ordered the arrest of Police Staff Sgt. Noel Alabata for lying. The police officer was nearly beaten to death by bystanders after he allegedly shot two businessmen in Dumaguete City in 2021, supposedly upon Teves’ order.
Grilled by senators, Alabata insisted that he did not try to kill Anthony Jason Ong and Sandy Tinguha despite a security video that belied his claim, prompting Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to move that he be cited for contempt.
Another police, on the other hand, is facing an investigation for allegedly acting as a bagman for Teves after Mayor Fritz Diaz of Siaton town in Negros Oriental, who attended the previous Senate hearing, identified him as the one who collected money from e-sabong and STL operations in Negros Oriental, and distributed these to other policemen.
“PRO-7 (Police Regional Office 7) gave an instruction to Capt. [Allen] Germodo to appear and cooperate with the Senate inquiry as we also conduct our investigation pertaining to the allegations that he was involved in illegal activities in Negros,” Lt. Col. Gerard Ace Pelare, PRO-7 spokesperson, told reporters.
Germodo, the officer in charge of the Tabuelan Police Station in northwest Cebu, denied the allegation against him. “Why would I become a bagman of Teves when I am no longer assigned in Negros Oriental?” he told reporters.