AN EMPLOYEE of embattled Negros Oriental Third District Representative Arnulfo Teves Jr. has filed complaints against policemen over alleged harassment and illegal detention following the raids conducted in their residence on March 10, 2023.
Hanna Mae Oray lodged complaints with the Commission on Human Rights. These complaints are related to Republic Act No. 7438, which defines the rights of people who are arrested, detained or undergoing custodial investigation, and outlines the duties of the arresting, detaining and investigating officers. In addition, her complaints also concern Articles 9 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as Article 3, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution.
Under Article 3, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution, any person who is being investigated for an offense has the right to be informed of their right to remain silent and to have the assistance of a competent and independent counsel, who they can preferably choose on their own. If the person cannot afford legal counsel, they must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
In the same chapter, it is also specified that no methods such as torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means that undermine the person's free will can be used against the individual being investigated. Furthermore, secret detention places, solitary confinement, incommunicado detention or any other similar forms of detention are prohibited.
Oray and her husband were among the individuals arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) operatives during the service of search warrants in several houses in Negros Oriental over illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
The raids covered their house as well as that of Teves to whom she works as a payroll officer.
Oray said police accused them of illegal possession of firearms and confiscated their phones despite them being able to present her husband’s license to own and possess firearm (LTOPF) and permit to carry (PTC) identification card for the firearms he owns.
During their detention, Oray said police were pressing her to testify against Teves or else they will “rot in jail.”
"Kailangan ko daw sabihin ang mga nalalaman ko daw po kay Cong. Arnie, na aminin ko daw po na ako ang inutusan ni Cong. Arnie na magbayad sa mga killer daw po. Sabi ko po sa kanya, ‘wala po akong alam sa mga bagay na iyan, sir, nasa opisina lang po ako,’" said Oray.
(I was told to tell what I know to Cong. Arnie and that I'm supposed to admit that I was the one ordered by Cong. Arnie to pay the killers. I told him, “I don't know anything about those things, sir, I'm just in the office.”)
"May pinadala po silang papel, parang sinasabi po na may granada po ang bahay ko. Dapat pirmahan ko raw iyon. Hindi ko po pinimirmahan...Hindi ko na raw po makikita ang mga anak ko, 60 years daw ako makukulong,” she added.
(They sent me a paper that seemed to indicate that there's a grenade in my house. They said I should sign it. I didn't sign it... They said I won't see my children anymore and that I'll be imprisoned for 60 years.)
Oray was release after five days of being held by the CIDG.
The CIDG filed charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition against them.
Teves was accused of masterminding the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
He, Oray and four other individuals were also charged in connection with the deaths of three people in Dumaguete City in 2019.
In the same press briefing, Teves' lead legal counsel slammed efforts to implicate his clients in these cases.
He cited the case of former Senator Panfilo Lacson who was implicated in a double murder case.
“We have procedures laid down in the law, let us follow the law. Expel? Congressman Teves enjoys the presumption of innocence. You cannot impose expulsion on whim because you will be disenfranchising the district he represents," Topacio said.
Degamo’s widow, Janice, earlier said she filed a petition before the House of Representatives to expel Teves from its roll due to his continuous absence and for his refusal to come back to the country amid his expired travel authority.
Topacio said Teves can attend to his duties and responsibilities remotely through video call.
The House committee on ethics and privileges is conducting a probe on Teves absence.
"May mga information na gusto niya (Teves) ibahagi sa House Committee on Ethics, kung bakit siya fine-frame-up, kung bakit hindi siya makasipot ng personal. This is a matter of life and death," Topacio said.
(Teves wants to share information with the House Committee on Ethics on why he was framed, why he cannot appear in person. This is a matter of life and death.)
"Magpa-participate si Congressman Teves via teleconference sa hearing mamaya (Congressman Teves will participate via teleconference in the hearing later). They said they are eager to hear the side of Congressman Teves. You can even vote via teleconference. Baka makita nilang valid iyong reasons ni Congressman Teves at baka maunawaan nila (They might see Congressman Teves' reasons as valid and understand)," he added.(SunStar Philippines)
Photo from CIDG
March 20, 2023
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