No Teves deportation—lawyer

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio — Leagogo

MANILA CITY, Philippines — Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for former Rep. Arnolfo Teves refuted reports that the lawmaker will soon be deported back to the Philippines following the denial of his request for asylum.

“Whoever is circulating the false rumors of the supposed denial of Rep. Arnolfo Teves’ request for political asylum in Timor Leste, and his impending deportation to the Philippines in two days, is talking through his hat and/or abysmally ignorant of TL laws,” Topacio said in a statement Tuesday.

READ: PNP to offer assistance, custodial facility when Teves returns to PH

Topacio pointed out that he regularly communicates with Teves’ legal team in Timor Leste.

“As of this writing, we do not have any information on the status of the asylum request, much less that it has been denied,” Topacio said.

He added that “the denial of asylum in TL, as my counterparts inform me, may be subject to appeal, during which time the person requesting appeal is not deported.”

READ: Remulla: Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. ‘being considered’ as among masterminds in Degamo slay

Transitional period

Topacio said Teves’ lawyers from Timor Leste told him that Timor Leste’s laws provide a transitional period of 20 days before any deportation would take effect, even without an appeal.

He assured that they fully intend to appeal any adverse decision regarding Teves’ asylum application.

When asked to confirm the report of Teves’ deportation and denial of his asylum request, the DOJ answered in the negative.

READ: Teves to also face murder raps for 2019 killings; hitman’s testimony strengthens case

“We cannot confirm the denial of political asylum without official communication from the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs)… But on the extradition request, we are awaiting their (Timor Leste court) decision,” Department of Justice (DOJ) Spokesperson Jose Dominic Clavano IV said.

Teves remains in detention in Timor Leste awaiting ruling on his extradition as well as the asylum request.

Teves is accused of masterminding the killing of then Governor Roel Degamo and nine others in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, on March 4, 2023, which also resulted in numerous injuries to other individuals.

He is also facing cases related to the death of three individuals from March to June 2019 in Negros Oriental, violations of The Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, and violations of the Law on Explosives following the discovery of high-caliber weapons and ammunition in his family’s compound.

Quoting Rudyard Kipling to underscore his point, Topacio said. “The information is thus erroneous and, to borrow from Kipling, ‘twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.’”