Court orders Teves passport canceled

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
Court orders Teves passport canceled
This screengrab shows of Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr.
Facebook / Congressman Arnie A. Teves

MANILA, Philippines — A Manila court has ordered the cancellation of the passport of expelled Negros Oriental congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr., who is wanted in the country for multiple murder.

Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 51 Judge Merianthe Pacita Zuraek issued the order on Thursday, saying the prosecution had established that Teves “is a fugitive from justice,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed yesterday.

“His right to travel can be impaired as his case involves public safety,” the decision read. “His actions as well as of his group indeed created fear and intimidation of the local population and government of Negros Oriental, undermining public safety.”

The court said there is basis for the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel Teves’ passport.

In a 14-page decision, the RTC denied Teves’ motion to oppose the prosecution’s motion to cancel his passport, saying hat he is “not entitled to relief from the court” as it has not yet acquired jurisdiction over his case.

Teves is facing murder charges over the assassination of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo on March 4, 2023.

He is also facing several other charges in connection with a series of killings in 2019.

DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla reiterated the government’s commitment to uphold the rule of law and ensure that “all individuals, regardless of their status, are held accountable for their actions.”

Remulla had earlier said Teves is in Timor-Leste and is believed to be seeking asylum, although his chances are not good.

Teves’ legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio said they would exhaust all legal remedies to reverse the court ruling.

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