Cancel Teves passport, Enrile urges DFA
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile on Saturday urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to finally cancel the passport of fugitive Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. for his refusal to face the multiple murder charges against him.
“Why is his passport not yet canceled?” Enrile asked in his weekly television program, noting that Teves has repeatedly refused to face the charges against him and has even been suspended from the House of Representatives for his continued absence.
Instead, Teves, who claims to be in Timor Leste, has been posting videos on social media, arguing his case against accusations that he was the mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and nine others.
On Thursday, the lawyers asked state prosecutors to inhibit themselves from preliminary proceedings on the Degamo assassination and transfer the case to the Ombudsman.
Teves’ lawyers argued that Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla had already prejudged the case and that the Department of Justice (DOJ) could no longer provide impartial prosecutors.
But Enrile, who served as justice secretary from 1968 to 1970, said the Teves motion was wrong because the Ombudsman was specially tasked to prosecute cases of corruption and not the usual crimes.
He pointed out that ordinary crimes, rape, murder, robbery, and murder are investigated by the DOJ.
Enrile said Ombudsman Samuel Martires, who is a former associate justice of the Supreme Court, is competent to handle criminal cases, but “that is not within his mandate.”
“His mandate is different. The secretary of justice enforces the criminal laws of the country, the provisions of the penal code,” he said.
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