PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. belied on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the claims of embattled Negros Oriental Third District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. that there is a serious threat in his life, the reason why he refused to go back to the country.

“Ang sinasabi niya may banta daw sa buhay niya. Kami naman, the best intelligence we have is that we don’t know of any threat. Saan manggagaling ‘yung threat?” Marcos said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Army founding anniversary.

(What he is saying is that there is a threat to his life. As for us, the best intelligence we have is that we don't know of any threat. Where will the threat come from?)

Teves is being tagged as the brains behind the assassination of Negros Oriental Roel Degamo on March 4, as well as three other individuals in Dumaguete City in 2019.

He refused to return to the country despite his expired travel authority and defied calls for him to come back and face the allegations against him.

Marcos also shot down Teves' claim that the root of his implication in Degamo’s killing is the e-sabong.

“Ang puno’t dulo nito ay e-sabong? Hindi ang puno’t dulo nito ay pagkapaslang kay Governor Degamo. Nagkaproblema na kami sa e-sabong noon, but that's not what this is about,” he said

(The end of it is e-sabong? The end of this is not the assassination of Governor Degamo. We've had problems with e-sabong before, but that's not what this is about.)

The President, however, assured Teves of his safety in case he decides to come back home.

“To reassure him, we will provide all kinds of security, kung ano ‘yung gusto mo. Mayaman ka naman, may private jet ka, mag-landing ka kung saan mo gusto. Sa air force base, mag-landing siya sa Basa. Papaligiran natin siya ng sundalo, walang makakalapit isang kilometro,” he said.

(To reassure him, we will provide all kinds of security, whatever you want. You are rich, you have a private jet, you can land wherever you want. At the air force base, he will land in Basa. We will surround him with soldiers; no one can come within a kilometer.)

“Habang tumatagal ito, mas nagiging mahirap ang sitwasyon mo, ngayon marami pang options... Pag masyado nang late, wala na, mapipilitan na ang gobyerno kumilos without having any discussions with him,” he added.

(The longer this goes on, the more difficult your situation becomes, now there are more options... When it is too late, there is nothing we can do. The government will be forced to act without having any discussions with him.)

Teves had repeatedly denied involvement in Degamo’s murder.

At present, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said all the individuals in the “attack team” during Degamo’s assassination are now under their custody.

Some of them named “Cong Teves” as the person who calls the shots. (SunStar Philippines)