Law enforcement agencies have gathered “substantial evidence” to support the designation of suspended Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” A. Teves Jr. as “terrorist,” Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Secretary Jose Dominic F. Clavano IV said on Friday, May 19.
In an interview over CNN Philippines, Clavano said the pieces of evidence will be submitted to the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to support the recommendation of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remula against Teves.
Remulla had recommended the designation of Teves as “terrorist” under Republic Act No. 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which created the ATC.
“The ATC’s technical working group (TWG) is set to meet again to discuss the matter,” Clavano said.
“We can expect in this next TWG meeting, we would be able to see the progress of the evidence gathering and the case build up by the law enforcement agencies,” he said.
He also said the National Bureau Investigation (NBI) had “other sources that told them about other incidents which were not even filed in court or with the prosecutor” and have “started to dig on the other incidents.”
“We also got a lot of materials from Senate hearings where a lot of these incidents were put to light as well,” he noted.
He said the process of designation by the ATC will be finished soon.
“I can give a tagline of about a month or so because the TWG has been very diligent in meeting and trying to figure out whether the designation can be done as soon as possible or we need to find more evidence,” he also said.
Last Wednesday, May 17, Teves was charged with 10 counts of murder, 14 counts of frustrated murder, and four counts of attempted murder in the March 4, 2023 killings of 10 persons, one of them Negros Oriental Gov. Roel R. Degamo. Eighteen other persons were also injured during the attack at Degamo’s residence in Pamplona town.
Five other persons were named as co-respondents of Teves. They were identified as Angelo V. Palagtiw, Neil Andrew Go, Capt. Lloyd Cruz Garcia, Nigel Electona, and a person identified only with the aliases “Gee-Ann, Jie-An,” reportedly a sister of Palagtiw.
The DOJ is expected to create a panel of prosecutors to evaluate and study the complaints. If the prosecutors find basis to proceed, summons are expected to be issued to require the respondents to file their counter-affidavits.
Teves has not returned to the country since his travel abroad last February. He has denied allegations that he is “one of the masterminds” in the slaying of Degamo.
Lawyer Levito Baligod, the legal counsel of the Degamo family, had alleged that 62 other killings in Negros Oriental from 2012 to 2022 have been also attributed to Teves.