Teves lawyer slams ‘striptease’ release of information

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
Teves lawyer slams âstripteaseâ release of information
Negros Oriental 3rd District Cong. Arnolfo Teves Jr. holds a press conference with Atty. Ferdie Topacio in Pasig City on Thursday (January 12, 2023) to plead for his family's safety after receiving reports of an alleged police raid in his residence to seize evidence on his alleged connection to e-sabong.
STAR / File Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The lawyers of Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. and arrested suspects in the murder of governor Roel Degamo criticized the Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday for allegedly releasing bits and pieces of information on the case like a striptease.

Led by Teves’ lead counsel Ferdinand Topacio, they wonder why Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla is holding back details about the supposed main player in the deadly attack on March 4 that killed Degamo and eight other people.

Last Friday, Remulla announced that the Degamo case is 99-percent solved, noting the arrest of a primary suspect in the murder. However, he declined to give other details and told journalists to wait until Monday for further announcements.

This did not sit well with Topacio, who dubbed the DOJ investigation as a witch hunt.

“Whatever was said by the person that needs to wait till Monday to announce? Do they need a weekend to work on this guy?” Topacio, speaking in Filipino, wondered out loud as he faced media at yesterday’s Kamuning Bakery Pandesal Forum.

Topacio said that if the DOJ really has “the goods” against Teves, Remulla should have immediately released the information to the public.

“It’s like a striptease, isn’t it; undressing piece by piece. Why is it like a burlesque?” he quipped.

Based on the information received by the legal team, Topacio said the “main player” Remulla was referring to is allegedly Marvin Miranda.

Sources said Miranda was a middleman between the masterminds and the gunmen who carried out what is locally referred to in Negros Oriental as the Pamplona Massacre.

Topacio also disputed Remulla’s assertion that the case is almost solved, stressing that the DOJ chief should only make a conclusion when a conviction is already rendered.

He said Teves has made several requests for him to return to the country, which he relayed to Speaker Martin Romualdez. Not going into details, Topacio said these have something to do with the safety of his client.

“Congressman (Teves) made certain requests for his return in order to ensure his safety,” Topacio said, noting that Romualdez granted some of the requests but rejected the others.

Since not all the requests were granted, the suspended congressman will still not be returning from abroad, said Topacio.

Instead, they are mulling legal actions against the police, specifically operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), for allegedly committing human rights abuses and psychological torture.

“There will be a time under the rules of procedure,” Topacio said of these charges.

Lawyer Rose Erames said the CIDG operatives were harassing people working at the sugar mill in which the congressman’s younger brother, Pryde Henry, is the company president.

Erames said a relative of Nigel Electona, the firm’s security chief and one of the suspects in government custody, was harassed by a police officer.




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