Does Teves ever plan to return to PH? Dela Rosa says maybe not
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa believes suspended Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. may have no plans of returning to the Philippines.
Teves, tagged as a mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and 10 others, is in Timor-Leste, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, where his bid to seek political asylum in the country was rejected.
“He is seeking asylum what? For political reasons lang naman ang pwedeng i-grant. Hindi criminal asylum. So I don’t know paano niya i-justify iyon. Kaya nga siguro na-deny dahil baka hindi niya ma-justify,” dela Rosa told reporters.
The senator is leading the Senate public order and drugs panel in probing the spate of political violence and killings in the country.
(He is seeking asylum for what? They can only grant such for political reasons. Not criminal asylum. So I don’t know how he justified that. And maybe that’s why it was denied because he couldn’t justify it.)
Asked if he believes Teves has no intention of coming home to face the accusations against him, the senator said: “Wala talaga. Wala talaga siguro. Just like previous people in the same situation as him, maghihintay nalang ng after this administration at saka mag-surface.”
(None. Perhaps none. Just like previous people in the same situation as him, he’ll wait and surface after this administration.)
Dela Rosa presides over the fourth in a series of Senate hearings investigating politically-driven attacks and assassinations, including the Degamo slay.
Senators had previously rejected Teves’ bid to appear in the hearing virtually, citing legal issues that may arise with the congressman not being within Philippine jurisdiction.
But Teves has not shown up for the probe yet.
The embattled lawmaker flew to the United States on Feb. 28, supposedly for a stem cell procedure, but he has not returned to the Philippines even with the expiration of his travel authority on March 9.
The House of Representatives slapped Teves with a 60-day suspension for his “disorderly behavior” in refusing to return home and fulfill his duties in the chamber.
Teves has denied having a hand in the killing of Degamo. He also repeatedly said he would not return to the country, citing threats to his safety.