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Murder suspect Teves arrested in East Timor

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Former Negros Oriental 3rd District congressman Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. (Photo courtesy of House of Representatives)
MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed before midnight Thursday the arrest of ousted Negros Oriental 3rd District congressman and designated terrorist Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. in Dili, East Timor.
The DOJ news release posted on Facebook said Teves was nabbed at the Top Golf Driving Range and Bar around 4 p.m. Thursday.
Teves is facing multiple murder charges in connection with the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine others in March 2023, and three others in 2019.
"We already confirmed that the mastermind of my husband's murder has finally been captured by Timor Leste police. Words cannot express how it feels to finally see the man who terrorized our province and brutally murdered my husband surrounded by police. Dalaygon ang buhi nga Dios!" Pamplona, Negros Oriental Mayor Janice Degamo, the slain governor's widow, posted on Facebook.
The arrest of Teves was made possible through the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies, including the International Police (Interpol) – National Central Bureau (NCB) in Dili, in coordination with the East Timorese Police.
"Today's (Thursday) apprehension of Teves is a testament to the power of international cooperation," Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a statement. "It sends a clear message that no terrorist can evade justice and that nations stand united in safeguarding the safety and security of their citizens."
Teves is now under the custody of the Timorese police while his extradition to the Philippines is being worked out by NCB-Dili in coordination with the team from NCB-Manila and Dili Philippine Embassy.
On Feb. 28, the DOJ announced that the Interpol has issued a Red Notice against Teves while a team from the National Bureau of Investigation will be sent to the last known whereabouts of Teves.
"(East) Timor may apprehend Teves. However, they might prefer us to send a team there. Most likely, we will dispatch a team to (East) Timor to execute the warrant," Remulla said then.
A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.
Prior to the Red Notice, his regular passport was canceled by a Manila court and his diplomatic passport revoked by Congress as it was valid only within his official leave.
Remulla said Teves must face his long-delayed trial "squarely" without setting any conditions.
He likewise thanked Philippine law enforcement teams and international partners for their relentless efforts in fighting lawlessness to achieving peace.
"The capture of Teves only proves that through concerted efforts and determination, terrorism can be thwarted and peace preserved," Remulla added.
During Governor Degamo's first death anniversary on March 4, the mayor recalled her husband's devotion to his duty.
"Roel was governor not for the power or the title but because he loved his fellow NegOrenses more than life itself. He made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure peace and prosperity in our province and I will do whatever it takes to honor his legacy by bringing lasting peace to our great province. Building a better Negros Oriental will always be my number one priority," she said.
Mayor Degamo will seek the Third District congressional seat in the 2025 polls. It remains vacant after Teves was kicked out in August last year, with House Speaker Martin Romualdez serving as caretaker. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Mar-22 11.00.00 UTC+0800