Timor-Leste court places Teves under house arrest

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Timor-Leste court places Teves under house arrest
Photo released by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio yesterday shows him (left) walking with former Negros Oriental congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. following the latter’s release from preventive detention at the Becora Prison in Dili, Timor-Leste.
The STAR / File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Expelled lawmaker Arnolfo Teves Jr. has been placed under house arrest by Timor-Leste’s Tribunal de Recursos or Court of Appeals (CA) as part of extradition proceedings.

This has been confirmed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Teves’ lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

“The government will maintain close oversight of the situation to ensure that all procedures are both valid and appropriate,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“Regardless of whether he is in custody, rearrested, or house arrest, he is under the control of the police authorities,” DOJ Undersecretary Raul Vasquez said in a separate statement.

 According to Topacio, the house arrest of the expelled solon is “relative to the extradition proceedings.”

A report from Hatutan.com, a local news outlet in Timor-Leste, noted Teves will be under strict security until court proceedings conclude, citing flight risk concerns.

According to a GMA News report, Topacio denied that the expelled lawmaker is a flight risk.

“After having determined that he is not a flight risk and that he has not violated any laws, he was placed under guard in his residence simply to ensure his attendance in the hearings,” Topacio said.

The DOJ previously said that a decision from Timor-Leste’s CA is expected to be released on or before June 20.

The expelled lawmaker was released from preventive detention on Monday but was put into court custody hours after his release.

It could be recalled that Teves was expelled from the House of Representatives in August last year due to disorderly conduct and prolonged absence, even after his travel authority had expired.

Teves was also tagged as the alleged mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo on March 4, 2023.

The expelled lawmaker is also facing a separate warrant of arrest for a murder case in the killings of three individuals in Negros Oriental in 2019.

In August 2023, the Anti-Terrorism Council designated Teves as a terrorist, alleging that his leadership of an armed group involved orchestrating killings and a series of harassments in Negros Oriental.

Teves was also charged for financing terrorism under Section 4 of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, as well as similar provisions under the Anti-Terrorism Law.

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