DOJ cites gains in operation vs Teves in Timor Leste

MANILA, Philippines — While the National Bureau Investigation (NBI) was unable to bring former Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. back to the Philippines from East Timor, Department of Justice (DOJ) Spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano still called their mission a success.

The DOJ is still awaiting the decision of Timor Leste courts on the Philippines’ request for extradition.

“That operation was a success because when they had arrived in Timor Leste – two hours after their arrival, the arrest of Teves happened ‘no. And for them to come home without him is not an unsuccessful operation,” Clavano said in a Palace briefing.

“In fact, it was successful. The only responsibility of the law enforcement, especially the NBI Director, was to have him arrested – so it was a success,” he added.

Clavano asked the public to be more patient, as the agency must be thorough.

“We have taken every possible step to get this done, and we’re at the tail end now. Once he’s back in the Philippines, we hope that he will muster the courage to finally face his charges in court,” said Clavano.

Teves is tagged in the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine other people in March 2023.

The expelled lawmaker eluded Philippine authorities until March 2024, when he was arrested in Timor-Leste while playing golf.