MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — Authorities are not excluding Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. from the investigation into the killing of his political rival Governor Roel Degamo, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla said on Thursday.
“We’re investigating everybody who may have something to do with what has been happening in Negros Oriental, we are not exempting anybody,” Remulla said.
Degamo and eight others were killed when at least 6 gunmen armed with rifles and wearing military-style uniforms opened fire in the governor's home in Pamplona municipality on Saturday. Seventeen people were also wounded in the attack.
Teves on Monday said he received information that he would be pinned down for Degamo's assassination. He said he and his clan had nothing to do with the killing.
The lawmaker's brother, Pryde Henry Teves, was unseated by Degamo after the Supreme Court declared him last month the rightful winner of the contest for the Negros Oriental governorship.
The police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Tuesday filed murder complaints against Rep. Teves and several others for the death of three people in 2019.
Remulla said "there will be more cases filed about past incidents that were dismissed before, that were not attended to before, but would not constitute double jeopardy on the part of the accused."
"So this is not just about 9 murders, there may be more, more cases to be investigated. Besides even the ones, the three cases brought by Atty. Baligod here on Tuesday, there are more cases na kailangan tingnan natin (to be looked into),” he said.
Remulla, who accompanied President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the wake of Degamo in Negros Oriental on Wednesday, said locals made revelations to him related to the case.
"What comes out is a pattern of impunity that we did not sense before, it is something that is new to us, ngayon talaga, it’s very hard to imagine this happening before," Remulla said.
Meanwhile, Teves' legal spokesperson said the lawmaker's family is worried about their safety after being tagged in the governor's killing.
“As you all know Congressman Arnie is now in the USA and 'yung mga family member niya na nandito ngayon sa Dumaguete, when this case erupt and the name of Congressman Arnie was dragged into this case, talagang natakot na sila, natakot sila na baka naman they will be subjected to search warrant etcetera etcetera, “ according to Atty. Rommel Erames.
Because of this, relatives of the lawmaker were advised to refrain from going out in public for now as they also fear the things being said on social media.
Although Erames admitted that he hasn't been in contact with Teves in a while.
Teves, who is in the United States for a personal trip as of writing, was expected to return to the Philippines after this travel clearance from the House of Representatives expired Thursday.
A copy of the clearance obtained by ABS-CBN News from the Speaker's Office showed that it was issued by House Secretary General Reginald Velasco on behalf of Speaker Martin Romualdez.
According to the document, the clearance covers Teves' "personal foreign trip" to the United States from Feb. 28 to March 9.
—with report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News