Teves to appeal extradition ordered by Timor-Leste

Fugitive and expelled Negros Oriental 3rd District congressman Arnolfo “Arnie” A. Teves Jr. will appeal the extradition order issued against him by the Timor-Leste government. 

Teves' lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said “the judgment is still appealable, a recourse that we have every intention of taking.”

"Then we still have the option of political asylum," Topacio declared.

Teves' extradition was confirmed Thursday night, June 27, by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

DOJ Assistant Secretary Jose Dominic F. Clavano IV said: “The DOJ confirms the grant of the extradition request made by the Philippine government.  The information was relayed to us by the Attorney-General of Timor-Leste. We have won.”

Clavano also said: “We look forward to the arrival of Mr. Teves so that he may finally face the charges against him in our local courts.”

Reacting to the DOJ's statement that it has "won" the case, Topacio said: "You have not won. Not by a long shot."

Teves and several others have been charged with 10 counts of murder, 12 counts frustrated murder, and four counts of attempted murder for the March 4, 2023 deaths of 10 persons, including Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, and injuries to 18 others in Pamplona town.

The cases filed in Negros Oriental had been ordered transferred to Manila by the Supreme Court (SC).

On Sept. 5, 2023, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Merianthe Pacita M. Zuraek of Branch 51 issued an arrest order against Teves and his co-accused.  The arrest order against Teves could not be enforced since the former congressman has been abroad long before the filing of the cases in court.

Last March 21, local authorities of Timor-Leste arrested Teves while playing golf at the Top Golf Driving Range and Bar in capital city of Dili pursuant to the red notice issued by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

The Philippines sought his extradition.

Aside from Teves, the 11 other co-accused are Marvin Miranda, Rogelio Antipolo Jr., Rommel Pattaguan, Winrich Isturis, John Louie Gonyon, Dahniel Lora, Eulogio Gonyon Jr., Joric Labrador, Joven Javier, Benjie Rodriguez, and Jhudiel Rivero.

On top of the murder, frustrated murder and attempted murder cases, Teves had been designated terrorist by the Anti-Terrorism Council and his assets in the Philippines had been ordered frozen. Terrorism charges have been filed against him and several other respondents before the DOJ.

He is also facing murder charges for the deaths of three persons in Negros Oriental in 2019.

Should Teves get extradited, Topacio said the DOJ still has ”to prove him guilty in the face of recantations by all witnesses previously against him who were tortured and intimidated into testifying falsely against him.”

“You still have to defend your planted evidence, in light of the recent rulings of the courts revealing their bogus nature and the admission to bail of Mr. Teves' co-accused on the ground of weak evidence,” he added.