Teves lawyer mocks DOJ: Where are the charges?
The lawyer of suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo “Arni” Teves Jr., Ferdinand Topacio, mocked the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday for prosecuting Teves via publicity without filing charges against him.
Teves, whose whereabouts remain unknown, has been abroad on a medical leave since Feb. 28 even after being accused of being the mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo on March 4.
“It’s been two months since the crime and no case against him has been filed,” Topacio told the Inquirer on Thursday.
If Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla is so confident that they have solid evidence against Teves, why are there still no charges filed in court, Topacio asked.
“This leaves us to believe they are flimsy and that the government [is] scrambling for evidence. That is why they even went to the extent of branding him as a terrorist and having him declared so by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC),” he added. “They are weaponizing the antiterror law. We are very concerned because if they can do that to a congressman then they can do that to anyone who crosses the government,” Topacio said.
Thus far, the police have only filed charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition against Teves and his two sons, but the prosecutors have not even concluded its preliminary investigation of those charges.
The DOJ contends that Teves should return to the country to answer the charges against him, but the congressman claims there are threats against his life and has thus opted to remain abroad.
Remulla has said that charges for the murder of Degamo and eight others will be filed by the National Bureau of Investigation, but the case will remain at that level until Teves is arraigned in court.
The DOJ chief earlier said that notices can be sent to his last known address after a certification from the Bureau of Immigration that he has not returned.
Remulla also said that he has asked the ATC to officially designate Teves as a terrorist, allowing the government to freeze his assets.
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