DOJ eyeing to ‘designate’ Teves as terrorist under anti-terror law
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is now looking at “designating” suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. as a terrorist over his alleged role in the March 4 massacre of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others.
On Monday, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told senators investigating the political killings that the activities leading to the March 4 massacre were covered by the Anti-Terror Law (ATL).
“In this case, the activities that led to the killing on March 4 all are covered by the Anti Terrorism Law—the recruitment, the financing, the purchase of firearms, the distribution of firearms—everything that transpired has the hallmarks of terrorism in it,” Remulla said, responding to queries of Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva during the hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
But when the cases were filed individually against those allegedly behind the massacre, the DOJ chief said they could not immediately file an anti-terror case as this would take “a lot of legal theory and a lot of research” to prove a terrorism case.
Immediately filing an anti-terror case based on the crimes that happened might just “prejudice other convictions that can be secured easily with the same punishment for multiple murder[s],” Remulla further pointed out.
“However, as a solution to the impasse here about the surrender of Congressman Teves, we are looking at designating him or proscribing him as a terrorist—to have him proscribed by the Court of Appeals and designated by the Anti-Terror Council because of the acts that happened,” he said.
“Because the other persons [are] in custody already, there’s no more need, but as far Congressman Teves is concerned, we may need for him to be designated and proscribed,’ the DOJ chief said.
Teves, who was prevented by the committee from attending the probe virtually, has repeatedly denied any hand in the assassination of Degamo and eight others, later dubbed the Pamplona massacre.
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