Teves tagged as alleged mastermind in Degamo slay
Lawyer calls for sobriety in pronouncements on allegations against Congressman Teves
DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental—Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo ‘Arnie’ Teves Jr. was tagged as the alleged mastermind in the killing of Governor Roel Degamo.
The SITG Degamo, the task group investigating the killing of the governor, confirmed that the recent revelation of the Department of Justice, which named Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Teves as the alleged mastermind in the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Degamo, was part of the Task Group’s investigation results.
“These are information that we already knew from the moment we arrested the four suspects six hours from the incident. We then turned over to the DOJ the suspects and the pieces of evidence, as part of the process,” SITG stated.
“When we forwarded the case for inquest, we have already the complete picture of what transpired before, during and after the incident, including the identities of the suspects. Right now po, the prosecution of the case is under the control of the Department of Justice. The SITG essentially did our part already,” the statement added.
Teves’ lawyer’s statement
However, Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, Representative Teves’ lead counsel, called for sobriety in the pronouncements regarding allegations against his client.
“We call on all concerned to observe sobriety in their pronouncements regarding the allegations against Rep. Arni Teves in the face of certain accusations against him in connection with the killing of Governor Roel Degamo and several other persons,” said Topacio in a statement.
“The killing has already been denounced strongly by Rep. Teves, who has denied involvement therein. It will not serve the ends of justice any by publicly obfuscating the issues prematurely before a thorough investigation in accordance with procedures provided for by law,” Topacio’s statement further said.
“Verily, justice can only be done to the victims if and when the real perpetrators are brought before the bar of justice and convicted with finality. In the meantime, all must be mindful of the fact that our Supreme Court itself has already said that accusation is not synonymous with guilt, and the Constitution guarantees to every person the presumption of innocence,” Topacio said in the statement.
“We shall face any and all accusations consistent with the courses outlined in the legal system, confident that, in the end, our client will be exonerated,” Representative Teves’ lawyer said in the statement.
It was earlier reported that the suspects were arrested in a hot pursuit operation hours after the shooting. One, who remains unidentified, was killed from an encounter in Barangay Cansumalig in Bayawan City.
Teves has earlier denied having a hand in the killing of Degamo.
The lawmaker made his statement through a video on social media, which was published on Monday, March 6, 2023. The 16-minute video began with Teves disclosing that he is currently still abroad for treatment.
“Kung may balak man ako o may kakayahan na gawin ito, tandaan niyo – kung may balak man ako o may kakayahan na gawin ito, eh di sana ginawa ko na to bago pa mag election,” Teves said.
(If I had a plan and the capability to do this, I would have done it before the elections.)
Teves’ brother, Henry, ran against Degamo in the May 2022 Local and National Elections. Henry was proclaimed winner by a slim margin but Degamo contested it.
Election officials ruled in favor of Degamo’s protest, and allowed the votes of the nuisance candidate namely Ruel Degamo to be credited to then gubernatorial candidate Roel Degamo, ultimately surpassing the number of votes Henry garnered.
Degamo returned as governor last October 2022.
Further, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, the wife of the late governor, also said that they had considered politics as the possible motive in the attack.
Senate President Miguel Zubiri also said that the attack was a form of political terrorism.
Aside from Governor Degamo, eight others were also killed and 13 were wounded on the March 4 attack.
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