Extradition hearing for Teves done — DOJ

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Extradition hearing for Teves done � DOJ
This photo shows a screengrab of Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. in a virtual press conference held April 17, 2023.

MANILA, Philippines —  The extradition hearing of expelled lawmaker Arnolfo Teves Jr. in Timor-Leste’s Tribunal de Recursos or Court of Appeals (CA) has concluded, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Tuesday.

According to the DOJ, Timor-Leste’s CA is expected to have a decision before the end of June as it needs five days to render a ruling.

The submission of the arguments and positions by both camps is sequential and not simultaneous, according to the DOJ.

The Timor-Leste Central Authority will have to submit its memorandums or position paper followed by the camp of the expelled lawmaker.

“The DOJ is optimistic that a favorable decision will be made by the Court of Appeals, particularly as our witnesses were able to effectively counter the arguments raised by the camp of Teves,” the DOJ’s statement read. 

Asked for comment about the conclusion of the extradition hearing, Teves’ counsel Ferdinand Topacio said they gave their “best shot.”

“All I would like to say on the record is that we gave it our best shot, and hope and pray that the East Timor court would follow what is in the Constitution, without regard to the diplomatic pressure that the Philippines government has been exerting,” Topacio said in a message to reporters. 

On June 13, Teves was placed by the Tribunal de Recursos under house arrest as a part of the proceedings.

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.

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

He is 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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