Timor Leste grants Teves’ extradition

MANILA. Expelled Negros Oriental Third District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr.
MANILA. Expelled Negros Oriental Third District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. Photo from Teves' Facebook page

A TIMOR-LESTE court has granted the Philippine government’s request for the extradition of expelled Negros Oriental representative Arnolfo Teves Jr., the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed Thursday evening, June 27, 2024.

"The information was relayed to us by the Attorney-General of Timor-Leste. We have won," the DOJ said in a statement.

"We look forward to the arrival of Mr. Teves so that he may finally face the charges against him in our local courts," it added.

Teves’ legal counsel, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, said they will appeal the decision, noting that they also still have the option of political asylum.

Topacio maintained that if Teves was returned to the Philippines, he would still have to be proven guilty.

"You still have to defend your planted evidence, in light of the recent rulings of the courts revealing their bogus nature and the admission to bail of Mr. Teves' co-accused on the ground of weak evidence," he said.

"So, I wouldn't gloat if I were you," he added.

Teves has a standing arrest warrant over the brazen killing of former Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo in March 2023 that also resulted in the killing of 10 innocent civilians.

Teves, who was abroad for medical treatment when the killing happened, has since refused to return to the country citing threats against his life.

He initially applied for political asylum in Timor Leste but it was denied.

Teves was arrested in March over an Interpol red notice requested by the DOJ.

He is also facing murder charges in relation to the killing of three individuals in the province in 2019, including Miguel Dungog, a former board member of Negros Oriental.

Teves was also designated as a terrorist by the Anti-Terrorism Council while his passport was cancelled also in the orders of the DOJ.

A Manila court earlier issued a gag order, which bars all parties from discussing the merits of Degamo’s case with the public. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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