No Arnie Teves as NBI team returns from Timor-Leste

Posted by watchmen
March 25, 2024

The delegation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that went to Timor-Leste following the arrest of expelled Negros Oriental lawmaker Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves, Jr. has returned to the Philippines without the former congressman.

Based on a Super Radyo dzBB report by Saleema Refran, NBI Director Medardo de Lemos said a court in Timor-Leste is still verifying the request of the Philippines and Interpol for the custody of the fugitive ex-solon.

“Mayroong proseso sila doon sa Timor-Leste. Ine-evaluate nila ‘yung request ng Interpol at ‘yung request namin, request ng Pilipinas,” De Lemos said in a report on “24 Oras Weekend.”

“Proseso po ng Timor-Leste ‘yun. Ang sinasabi po natin doon, ginagalang natin ang lahat ng proseso ng bansa kung saan tayo ay isang requesting party lamang,” the NBI head added.

Teves, who was charged in court for the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and several others in March 2023, was arrested while playing golf at a driving range in the capital of Dili on Thursday, March 21.

A red notice is a request for law enforcement worldwide to locate and arrest a person pending his or her extradition, surrender or similar legal action.

Led by De Lemos, a six-man NBI team earlier arrived in Timor-Leste to extradite Teves.

The Timorese police initially refused, but later provided a photo of the legislator while in detention as “proof of life.”

De Lemos also refuted a claim from Teves’ lawyers that there were Philippine government agents who tried to use a cellphone to take a photo of Teves while in detention in an alleged effort to harass him.

The NBI director said Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta himself approved of taking “proof of life documentation” of Teves.

The NBI team paid a courtesy call to Ramos Horta, who the agency said wants Teves to leave Timor-Leste.

The Bureau said they would have to wait for the proceedings in Timor-Leste to finish before they could bring the former congressman back to the Philippines.

The expelled lawmaker is still under the custody of the Timor-Leste police and will remain there pending his deportation.

Deportation proceedings in Timor-Leste take around 40 days, but the NBI and the Philippine Department of Justice are hoping for a speedier process given his case.

Once in the Philippines, Teves will face murder, frustrated murder, and attempted murder charges for the killing of Degamo and nine other people at the home of the governor on March 4, 2023.

Aside from Degamo’s murder, Teves and others have also been charged with the deaths of three individuals in Negros Oriental in 2019.

Teves’ lawyer said their client had appeared before a Timor-Leste court, which extended his detention by 15 days to allow him to attend the hearing of his case.

The legal team of the former solon and a Filipino friend visited him in detention.

Teves has repeatedly denied all the allegations as his camp is exploring possible moves, such as seeking political asylum and bringing his case to the United Nations Human Rights Council. (GMA Integrated News)

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