MANILA — The Justice Department has begun its preliminary investigation into the illegal possession of firearms and explosives complaint filed against Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr.
Ferdinand Topacio, Teves' counsel, arrived at the DOJ on Wednesday without his client, who has yet to return to the Philippines.
Topacio said they had received the subpoena just last week, and that they need additional time to gather evidence.
The complaint against the House lawmaker stemmed from a raid in his house in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental last March 10. There, authorities seized firearms and explosives.
Teves' camp believes that the serving of the search warrant was questionable, saying the illegal items were "planted."
"Even assuming na valid 'yung warrant... ang contention po namin the evidence were planted," Topacio claimed.
"Kasi December 28, 2022 pa pinost na ni Cong. Teves sa kanyang Facebook account ang kanyang reklamo na may nakuha siyang reklamo na re-raidin ang kanyang mga tahanan at lalagyan ng ebidensiya in order to frame him up," he added.
(Even assuming that the warrant is valid... our contention is that the evidence was planted. Because it was December 28, 2022 that Cong. Teves posted his complaint on his Facebook account that he received a complaint that his homes will be raided and evidence will be put in order to frame him up.)
Topacio assured investigators that his client will face the charges but he couldn't say for sure when he will return to the Philippines.
The lawyer said Teves has informed House Speaker Martin Romualdez and DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla of his location.
Topacio also claimed that there are organizations within the government targeting his client.
"It's just that they’re part of the organization, they have to follow orders," he said.
"They have to conform but nagmamalasakit po sila at nababahala rin po sila sa mga pangyayari. Sa pulis po, sa DILG 'yung mga organizations po."
(They have to conform but they care and they are also concerned about the events. The police and the DILG are the organizations.)
The DOJ gave the Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP - CIDG) 7 days or until March 29 to submit additional evidence, while Teves' camp was given until April 14 to submit its counter-affidavit, if needed.
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 is also being investigated for his alleged involvement in the murder of Governor Roel Degamo earlier this month, even after he released a video statement on Facebook denying he had a hand in the slay.