MANILA, Philippines – Ipinag-utos ng korte sa Maynila ang kanselasyon ng pasaporte ni dating Negros Oriental representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr., ang itinuturong mastermind sa pagpatay kay Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo.
Sa 14-pahinang kautusan, iniutos ng Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 51 sa Department of Foreign Affairs na kanselahin ang pasaporte ni Teves.
Inatasan din nito ang National Bureau of Investigation na gawin ang kaukulang hakbang upang maibalik si Teves sa bansa.
Ayon sa Manila RTC, naitatag ng prosekusyon na si Teves ay isang pugante.
“Further, his right to travel can be impaired as his case involves public safety per the findings/ designation of the Anti-Terror Council. His actions as well as his group indeed created fear and intimidation of the local population and government of Negros Oriental undermining public safety,” saad dito.
“Thus, there exists basis or grounds for the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel accused Teves, Jr.’s passport. Accused Arnolfo Teves, Jr. is not entitled to relief from the court,” dagdag pa.
Sinabi rin ng korte na noong Marso 4, 2023, o nang maganap ang pagpatay kay Degamo, si Teves ay nasa Estados Unidos sa ilalim ng isang travel authority na sakop ang petsang Pebrero 9, 2023 hanggang Marso 9, 2023.
Dapat ay umuwi na umano si Teves nang mapaso ang kanyang travel authority ngunit hindi nito ginawa.
Idiniin din ng korte na naglabas na ito ng warrant of arrest laban kay Teves noong Setyembre 2023, habang inilagay ito at iba pa bilang terorista ng Anti-Terrorism Council.
“In the normal course of events, after the issuance of a warrant of arrest, an accused is either arrested or voluntarily surrenders. In either case, an accused eager to prove or assert his innocence longs for the wheels of justice to move,” ayon sa Manila court.
“Not in this case. Accused Teves, Jr. in utter disrespect of the court and willful disregard of the law, refuses to yield. By his refusal to come back to face his cases and his consistent flight mode, he deliberately continues to frustrate the ends of justice,” dagdag pa nito.
Ayon sa korte, ang ginawa ni Teves ay “calculated to put himself beyond the reach.”
“This is a clear message that our society demands accountability, and we shall leave no stone unturned to bring alleged perpetrators to book. Our resolve to create a just and fair Philippine society for all is stronger than ever,” sinabi ni Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.
Sumagot naman si Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, legal counsel ni Teves, na ang kautusan ay hindi pa pinal at executory.
“There is still an entire slew of legal remedies available to us in order to reverse the same, and we fully intend to resort to all of them,” saad sa pahayag ni Topacio.
“I suppose that if you have a very weak case, every tiny victory is a cause for celebration. Mr. Remulla must be reminded that there is no rational connection between the cancellation of the passport and Rep. Teves’ guilt as either an alleged terrorist or an accused in a criminal case. As always, the presumption of innocence remains.” RNT/JGC