Marcos urges Teves to come home, guarantees security

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2023 11:16 AM | Updated as of Mar 22 2023 05:13 PM

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MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday urged Negros Oriental Third District Rep. Arnolfo Teves to come back to the Philippines, saying the government could provide him security. 

Marcos said that Teves' "private jet" could land at the Basa air base in Pampanga, where he could be surrounded by soldiers, after the lawmaker claimed getting death threats.

"The best intelligence we have is we do not know any threat. Saan nanggagaling ‘yung threat?" Marcos told reporters in a chance interview.

"To reassure him, we will provide all kinds of security, kung ano ‘yung gusto mo. Mayaman ka naman, may private jet ka, mag-landing ka kung saan mo gusto. Sa air force base, mag-landing siya sa Basa. Papaligiran natin siya ng sundalo, walang makakalapit isang kilometro," he added. 

(Where did the threat come from? To reassure him, we will provide all kinds of security, whatever he wants. You are rich, you have a private jet, land wherever you want. He can land at the air force base, at Basa. Soldiers will surround him.)

The President said the lawmaker has yet to decide on “all these offers.” 

Marcos also advised Teves to go back to the country as soon as possible so he could have “several” options” and to prevent his situation from getting worse. 

“Kapag masyado nang late, wala na, mapipilitan na ang gobyerno. We would have to move without any discussions with him,” he said. 

(If it's too late, the government will be forced to move without any discussions with him.)

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Teves, a scion of an influential political family in Negros, is facing murder charges over the killing of Negros Oriental board member Miguel Dungog and several others in 2019. He ignored a Tuesday deadline to appear before the House ethics committee and has yet to return from his US trip. 

He Is also being investigated for his alleged involvement in the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo earlier this month, even after he released a video statement on Facebook denying he had a hand in the slay.

The President belied Teves’ allegation that Degamo’s killing was linked to e-sabong operations in the country.

“Ang punot dulo nito ay e-sabong? Hindi. Ang punot dulo nito ay ang pagpaslang kay Governor Degamo,” Marcos said.

(Was the root e-sabong? No.)

“This is not what this is about… This is about the killing of Governor Degamo, plain and simple.”

Marcos Jr. earlier vowed to seek justice for his slain ally.


Teves' lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said while their camp respected Marcos' statement, it was possible he received "filtered information" on the death threats against the lawmaker. 

Topacio also appealed to the President to hear their camp because there could have been "things that were kept from him that we know."

"Noong binigyan kami ng impormasyon na re-raid-in ang kanyang mga bahay ay nangyari naman… Yung Degamo killing, that very day of the killing, we received information that it is going to be pinned on him, at ayan nga, may lumulutang na," he said. 

(When we were given information that his house will be raided, it happened. The Degamo killing, that very day of the killing, we received information that it is going to be pinned on him, and it happened.)

"Yung 2019 case binuhay, although he had already been cleared by the police in that incident. There appears to be a pattern of trying to implicate him by hook or by crook to so many crimes,” the lawyer added.

(The 2019 case was revived even if he was already cleared by the police in that incident.) 

Asked whether or not the Chief Executive's call would be a factor for Teves to reconsider returning to the country, Topacio responded in the affirmative.

The lawmaker, he said, was also worried about the extent of the security that government would provide. 

“These are political decisions now. Ang presidente naman ay isang executive action ‘yung kanyang sinabi. Cong. Teves, he is a veteran politician, he would know what to do with that call of the President,” said Topacio. 

“He is weighing all the pros and cons. But you have to understand. This is a matter of life and death," he added. 

"Ang sinasabi niya sa akin. Si Degamo nga military pa ang nagse-secure, yung mga pulis, biglang nawala, na-penetrate. So you know, protection is many forms… How long can you protect him? How long will you protect him? What is the level of protection?"

(He told me that Degamo was secured by the military and the police, they suddenly disappeared and his property was penetrated by assailants.)


The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, said it was validating Teves' claims of threats to his life.

In a public briefing on Wednesday, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo called on Teves to reach out and inform the police about the supposed threats.

"Bina-validate po natin kung may mga natatanggap nga pong mga concrete threat po si Congressman Teves at ang kanyang pamilya. Ang pakiusap nga po natin ay ito'y kanyang ipaalam sa atin," Fajardo said. 

(We are validating Congressman Teves' claims if he and his family were indeed receiving concrete threats. We are asking him to give us more information about these threats.)

"Iyong ating [House] Speaker [Martin Romualdez], ating SILG [Benjamin Abalos Jr.], and even our Chief PNP [Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr.] assured him and his family na tayo po ay magbibigay ng kaukulang seguridad, hindi lamang po sa kanya kundi para rin sa kanyang pamilya kung iyan po ang kanyang reason kung bakit ayaw niyang umuwi ngayon," she added.

(Our House Speaker, SILG, and even our Chief PNP assured him that we would give him and his family the security detail they need, if that is the only reason why he is hesitant about coming home.)


Prosecutors from the justice department, meanwhile, granted the request of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the respondents, which included Teves, to extend the deadline for the submission of additional evidence on the complaints for illegal possession of firearms.

Topacio said the CIDG requested a week to present additional evidence, while their camp sought two weeks after that to respond and submit evidence.

“Umappear lang po kami. Na-meet namin ‘yung mga kinatawan ng CIDG... Yun lang naman po. Everything was cordial and it went on uneventfully,” he said.

(We just appeared and met the representatives from CIDG. That's all)

— With a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

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