Teves: CIQ order proves gov’t assassination plot
Suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. insisted on Friday that his life is in danger, as “proven” by a Bureau of Immigration order to “instantaneously intercept” him if he returns to the Philippines.
“This seems to be the true reason why they want me to come home. There is an order that when I arrive, I will be intercepted. What is more curious [is] that the order came out even before they filed a case against me,” Teves said in video posted on his social media page. He went on: “This means that even without a case against me, there’s already an order to intercept me. This is obviously political persecution and an abuse of my human rights.”
Teves showed screenshots of a message supposedly from Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco, but he did not explain why he considered the order extraordinary or threatening.
As part of usual entry formalities in any jurisdiction, Customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) officers are authorized to “intercept,” question and sometimes detain an arriving individual, particularly if the person is wanted by the law.
Teves did not explain where he was or if he planned to return to the country after government lawyers filed multiple charges for the Mar. 4 killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and nine of his supporters.
The lawmaker maintained that even with several counts of murder, attempted murder and frustrated murder against him, “I am still innocent until proven guilty.”
“I should not be intercepted, I should not be arrested, and I should not be jailed,” Teves said, adding: “Now, you know why I do not want to come home.”
Teves is not required to appear at the prosecutors’ preliminary investigation of the charges, but he would be required to appear before a court at an arraignment, if prosecutors find probable cause for the charges. Teves’ 60-day suspension will also expire on May 22, and the House ethics and privileges panel will be meeting once more to discuss his case if Teves refuses to come home and report for work.
The DOJ officials said Teves’ repeated insistence about threats to his life may be part of a bid to find asylum in another country.
Timor-Leste has already rejected Teves’ petition for asylum after it expressed awareness that the representative was wanted for a ramp of serious crimes.Face the accusations
For Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, the best solution for Teves was to face the accusations against him in court. “He should just come home,” Remulla said on Friday. “He’s throwing a lot at us, but are we the ones who killed 10 people? Just come home and face the charges. He’s the one who’s wanted.”
In another development, one of the 11 suspects arrested for the multiple murder complained to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that the National Bureau of Investigation had abducted his family.
Former soldier Jhudiel Rivero, alias Osmundo Rivero, said in the letter, dated May 9, that the local government of Balog, Zamboanga del Sur, brought his wife and two children to Manila for unknown reasons.
But Remulla said that the family’s transfer was part of Rivero’s deal with the DOJ in exchange for his testimony.
“That was for the Witness Protection Program, so he saw his family. Rivero himself requested that. He saw his family. We’re not gonna do that if he didn’t request it,” Remulla said, welcoming inquiries from the CHR.
“These are the things [meant] to throw us off focus. We will remain focused on these cases. Because they are the accused for these crimes,” Remulla added.