The camp of expelled Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. on Friday said they will look into all legal options to counter the e-warrant of arrest issued by a Manila court against the former lawmaker for the alleged killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo.
“We are seriously considering our options because the appeal, the warrant, procedurally you ask the higher court… on a petition of certiorari to say there was grave abuse of discretion in finding probable cause,” said Teves’ legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last August that charges of murder, frustrated murder, and attempted murder have been filed against Teves over the March 4 killing of Degamo and nine others.
Shortly after, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 51 issued an e-warrant of arrest against Teves, Angelo Palagtiw, a certain “Gie Ann” or “Jie An,” and Capt. Lloyd Cruz Garcia II.
According to Topacio, they have yet to receive a copy of the DOJ resolution indicting Teves, as well as the order of the court for an e-warrant of arrest.
“On Monday we will be undertaking more steps in order to secure more copies, not just the warrant, even the resolution of the DOJ we will question,” he said.
Topacio said they will also study the possible liabilities that may be imposed against the panel of prosecutors for supposedly not taking into account the recantations of the 10 accused in the killing.
“We want to know why so we can take the next step, not only with respect to the procedure of going up to the Court of Appeals (CA) but possibly in seeing whether those prosecutors who decided it are administratively or criminally liable for deliberately ignoring certain evidence,” he said.
Teves, who has yet to return to the country, may be going back and forth between Timor-Leste, Cambodia, and Thailand, according to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.
For Topacio, the arrest warrant may give Teves more reason to not return due to “unfairness.”
Asked if Teves was considering returning to the country to face the charges against him in court, Topacio said they will first exhaust all remedies available even without Teves’ presence.
“We will take it from there as to how things turn out. We have to play it by ear now, but we have an idea where we are going in so far as legal remedies are concerned,” he added.
Topacio said he was also unaware if Teves was seeking political asylum in other countries. Despite this, he said he assumes that Teves has been seeking legal advice wherever he is.”
Meanwhile, Topacio said Teves was not surprised by the warrant. He said he discussed with his client the remedies available.
“And he said, okay, we will do this legally notwithstanding the fact that they have not been treating me fairly. That I have been deprived of due process, that they have taken legal shortcuts against me.”
Degamo and nine others were killed, while several others were injured, after an attack on the late governor’s home in Negros Oriental on March 4, 2023.
Teves and his camp have repeatedly denied involvement in the massacre.