Remulla to Teves: Come home and stand trial

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star
Remulla to Teves: Come home and stand trial
This photo shows a picture of expelled lawmaker Arnolfo Teves Jr. being arrested by Timor-Leste law enforcement in Dili, East Timor.
Polícia Científica e de Investigação Criminal / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla yesterday urged expelled Negros Oriental congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. to quit dilly dallying and return home to face charges against him in Philippine courts.

Remulla issued the statement in response to Teves’ open letter to the United Nations, foreign human rights groups and Pope Francis for intercession in preventing his repatriation to the Philippines.

“He should just face the court of law and answer the charges fair and square,” Remulla said. “Teves is a designated terrorist and fugitive from justice.”

Remulla said Teves’ claims of persecution and threat to his life are “imaginary and a delaying tactic.”

Nonetheless, Remulla assured Teves that the Philippine government has guaranteed his protection.

“Prove us wrong that you are not merely employing tactics intended to delay or circumvent the Rule of Law by presenting ‘real’ and ‘existing’ proof that Teves’ life is in danger, otherwise, submit yourselves to Philippine jurisdiction. Time is of the essence knowing that there are victims crying for justice,” Remulla said.

He also belied claims that the Department of Justice (DOJ) railroaded the cases filed against Teves in connection with the murder of governor Roel Degamo, despite the supposed recantation of the suspects.

The DOJ chief said it is within the court’s jurisdiction to decide on the matter in a full-blown trial.

“Recantations do not necessarily weaken a case where there are other pieces of evidence that support the original statement. More so, recantations are frowned upon in our justice system,” he said.

A letter supposedly from Teves is circulating, wherein the former lawmaker is seeking intervention from the United Nations, Amnesty International, other human rights groups and even the pope.

“I am being politically persecuted, charged with false accusations and even presumed guilty before trial,” part of the letter read.

“You all know the reality in the Philippines. Please, do not send me there. I do not want to be killed. Please save my life,” Teves allegedly wrote.

Teves is in custody in Timor-Leste facing a trial for his extradition following his arrest last March based on a warrant issued by the Interpol, which hunted him for the murder of Degamo, along with nine others.

In August 2023, the Anti-Terrorism Council designated Teves as a terrorist after he was expelled from the House of Representatives for disorderly conduct and continued absence.

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