DOJ remains confident of winning case vs Teves | Inquirer News

DOJ remains confident of winning case vs Teves

Richard Fadullon STORY: DOJ remains confident of winning case vs Teves

Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Fadullon

MANILA, Philippines — As more suspects implicated in the murder of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and nine others on March 4 retracted their statements, the Department of Justice (DOJ) remains confident that it can win its case against suspended Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., the alleged mastermind in the killings.

Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Fadullon on Tuesday said that witnesses changing their sworn statements in the middle of a case could actually harm their credibility, especially if the evidence against them was “strong.”


Suspects Jhudiel Rivero (also known as Osmundo Rivero), Rogelio Antipolo Jr., Dahniel Lora, and Romel Pattaguan officially filed their counteraffidavits on Monday, claiming innocence in the assassination and accused the Philippine National Police of coercing them to sign statements pointing to Teves as the “mastermind.”


“[This] doesn’t mean that the recantations will prove that the earlier statements they gave are actually untrue,” Fadullon pointed out.

He added: “We don’t think this has an effect on the cases because we believe that the evidence that the DOJ currently holds is strong. And even if there are those who withdraw or there are new statements, it doesn’t mean the case will be totally destroyed.”


A security camera footage of the assassination in Degamo’s house in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, showed the gunmen. Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said the suspects in government custody admitted to being the attackers.

In early April, authorities also raided a sugar mill owned by Teves’ brother, Henry Pryde Teves, where identification and ATM cards supposedly belonged to Rivero and other suspects were found.

But Danny Villanueva, the new lawyer representing the witnesses, denied all these, claiming the gunmen in the footage could not be his clients who were “shorter and slouched” compared to the attackers, accusing authorities of “planting” his clients’ documents in the sugar mill.

But when asked if his clients were former Army soldiers as identified by the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Villanueva could neither confirm nor deny this.

Police denial

In his counteraffidavit, Rivero claimed he was on his way to report his missing tricycle to authorities when he was arrested by policemen in Bayawan City, and was tortured to sign a statement saying he was involved in the Degamo murder and that Teves was the mastermind.

“Mr. Rivero showed to us the marks on his neck showing that he was indeed subjected to torture when an iron wire was strung on his neck, and a plastic bag was also put on his head,” Villanueva earlier said in an interview with ANC’s “Rundown” on Monday.

He added that Antipolo had a similar story that he was arrested in his house in the town of Enrique B. Magalona, Negros Occidental, and agreed to give his earlier statements for fear of “being tortured and for the safety of his family.”

The PNP, however, has denied that Rivero was forced to implicate Teves, emphasizing its “unwavering commitment to upholding human rights.”

“While self-serving motives can influence testimonial evidence, our reliance on objective facts and forensic findings provides an unassailable foundation. We place paramount importance on ensuring that justice is served, and we will not allow any distractions or attempts to undermine the investigation’s integrity,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan, PNP public information office chief, also rejected allegations that the suspects were tortured by the police during their detention, saying this was punishable under Republic Act No. 9745, or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009.

“We can be sure there is no sensible police officer who will violate that law because the penalty there is reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years (in prison) if you are found to have violated it,” he told reporters.

Maranan also said the recanting suspects must present their evidence to prove their allegation that they were coerced.

For the wife of the slain governor, some people might be manipulating the suspects.

“In our belief, the recantation of this suspect (Rivero) is brought about by some people at the agency who made it happen,” Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo said on dzBB on Tuesday.

Degamo family lawyer Levito Baligod earlier disclosed attempts by a former DOJ official to bribe the suspects-turned-witnesses to stop them from cooperating with the government.

New probe

In Congress, Teves is facing a new probe on his continued failure to return to the country and report for work as a lawmaker.

On Tuesday, the House ethics and privileges committee acquired jurisdiction anew over Teves after he was marked absent during the previous day’s plenary session.

The panel has scheduled another hearing on May 29, during which it will ask Teves to explain his continued absence and discuss the lawmaker’s application for political asylum in Timor-Leste.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

House ethics panel chair, Rep. Felimon Espares, said his committee was hoping to wrap up its report on Teves’ case before Congress adjourns on June 3.



Suspect retracts confession tagging Teves in Degamo slay

Teves bares plot to intercept him if he returns to PH; BI says it’s protocol

After 2 months, NBI files murder raps vs Teves for Degamo slay

TAGS: Arnolfo Teves Jr., Department of Justice, Jesus Crispin Remulla, Richard Fadullon, Roel Degamo

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

News that matters

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2023 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.