Teves attending Senate probe into Degamo killing remotely — Dela Rosa

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said Thursday that suspended Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. (Negros Oriental) has committed to show up next week at his Senate panel’s investigation into the killings of government officials, including that of former Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo.

"He has made his commitment through his secretary, communicating with my committee secretariat that he is going to attend virtually during the hearing," Dela Rosa said over ABS-CBN News Channel’s "Headstart."

Dela Rosa said it is "very important" for the Senate public order panel to get the side of the Negros Oriental lawmaker who has not returned to the country since the brutal massacre of Degamo and eight others in Pamplona town. Degamo had been distributing aid from his house when he was shot.

"Maybe he wants to use this as an avenue for his side to be heard by the public," Dela Rosa said partly in Filipino. "And that is a good sign if he wants to attend our probe."

But Dela Rosa said he will be controlling and moderating the hearing in case Teves shows up and uses his time to grandstand.

The Department of Justice believes that Teves is currently staying in Cambodia, a country which does not have an extradition treaty with the Philippines.

In an interview with One News’ "The Chiefs" on Tuesday, DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano said the department is preparing an airtight case to convince Cambodia to deport Teve to the Philippines.

Clavano said that while deportation would be the most logical process to get Teves home to answer to the courts, "with Cambodia, it becomes a matter of diplomacy."

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla previously tagged Teves as the "executive producer" of Degamo’s killing, with military reservist Marvin Miranda being the "casting director [or] director."

Remulla said Miranda, arrested March 31, was responsible for contracting people and gathering firearms for the killing. Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said this was done "upon the instruction of a certain 'boss idol,' 'big boss,' 'kalbo' … who provided logistical and material support."

Abalos said Miranda was a long-time security aide of Rep. Teves. Remulla added the provincial lawmaker is the "boss idol," "big boss," or "kalbo" that Miranda was referring to.

Remulla also said it is "reasonable" to say that Teves paid for the firearms used in the assassination.

Remulla said that he "[thinks] there is a connection with Teves." 

Teves has already repeatedly denied his hand in the killing of the provincial governor, whose family is a political rival of theirs.

"[Congressman] Teves appears to be the main mastermind," Remulla added. — with reports from Kristine Joy Patag and The STAR/Neil Jayson Servallos

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