The panel of prosecutors of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to start on Tuesday, June 13, its preliminary investigation on the murder and other criminal charges filed against Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” A. Teves Jr. in the March 4, 2023 killings of 10 persons, one of them Gov. Roel R. Degamo.
Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony D. Fadullon on Wednesday, June 7, said summons to file counter-affidavits have been issued against Teves and his five co-respondents on charges of 10 counts of murder, 14 counts of frustrated murder, and four counts of attempted murder.
Thus, the panel – headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane E. Sytat -- expects that the counter-affidavits would be filed by Teves and his co-respondents on or before June 13.
Teves, who is suspended for another 60 days as a legislator – has been abroad despite the expiration of his travel authority to travel on March 9, 2023.
He was reported to have filed a petition for political asylum before the Timor-Leste government which denied his plea. He was also reported to have appealed the denial before Timor-Leste’s Supreme Court.
Teves has been tagged as “one of the masterminds” in the killing of Degamo. He has denied all allegations against him.
The criminal charges against Teves were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the DOJ on May 17, 2023.
His co-respondents were identified in the complaint as Angelo V. Palagtiw, Neil Andrew Go, Capt. Lloyd Cruz Garcia, Nigel Electona, and a person identified only as “Jie-An,” who was reported to be a sister of Palagtiw.
Aside from the Teves and the five respondents, 11 detained suspects have already been charged before the manila regional trial court (RTC) where all the cases involving Degamo’s killing have been ordered transferred by the Supreme Court (SC) on request of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla.
Those charged in court were Marvin H. Miranda (who was tagged as “co-conspirator with Teves”), Rogelio C. Antipolo Jr., Winrich B. Isturis, Joven C. Javier, Romel A. Pattaguan, Eulogio L. Gonyon Jr., John Louie L. Gonyon, Jhudiel R. Rivero, Joric G. Labrador, Benjie Rodriguez, and Dahniel P. Lora.
Their arraignment (reading of the criminal charges) has been postponed by the Manila RTC due to pending incidents like their motions to quash or dismiss the criminal charges.
All 11 the suspects are currently in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and have asked the court that they be kept there instead of being transferred to the Manila City Jail.
Ten of the detained suspects, except Miranda, have reportedly recanted their supposed testimonies which admitted their participation and implicated Teves in the killings.
But Remulla has downplayed the recantations as he pointed out that the issue is best left to the court to decide.