Rep. Teves, sons ask prosecutors to dismiss illegal possession of guns, explosives case
MANILA, Philippines — Suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. and his two sons Kurt Matthew and Axel on Friday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the complaint for illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against them by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
The complaint resulted from simultaneous implementations of search warrants at the properties owned by the lawmaker and his sons in Bayawan City last March 10.
In a motion filed by his lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, the respondents said the firearms and explosives were illegally seized and should be inadmissible as evidence.
He said the police violated the basic requirements when implementing search warrants citing the joint affidavit of Barangay Captain Andrew I. Barte and Kagawad Ulysses Ilagan, who both served as police witnesses, as well as the affidavits issued by the staff of Teves who were present during the implementation of the search warrant and even took videos of pictures.
Based on the witnesses’ testimony, before the presentation of the search warrant, the police’s Special Action Force (SAF) was already inside the Teves’ house and carrying large bags.
“These SAF team members, who are necessarily part of the team implementing the search warrant, broke and violated the most basic of statutes and rules that proscribe unreasonable searches and seizure,” he also said.
He said Section 8, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court had been violated.
The rule states that: “No search of a house, room, or any premises shall be made except in the presence of the lawful occupant thereof or any member of his family or in the absence of the latter, two witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality.”
Topacio added that the witnesses also said that the SAF clearing team “consisting of around thirty (30) PNP-SAF authorities, employed in the implementation of the search warrant, as if exempted from the rules on the implementation of the search warrants, entered the said premises: 1) without the owner of the house; 2) without any witnesses; 3) without allowing any photographing or video recording of their activities; 4) without having subjected themselves to frisking; and, 5) without having their bags checked by anyone. Then, they took their time therein for around an hour, from around 4:00 a.m. to around 5:00 a.m..”
After filing the motion, government prosecutors already submitted the case for resolution.