Dozens of weapons, explosives found in underground stash
MANILA (UPDATE) – Police found a cache of gun, bullets, and suspected explosives buried at the sugar mill compound owned by former Negros Oriental Governor Pryde Henry Teves in Sta. Catalina town, Negros Oriental Saturday night.
In a telephone interview with ABS-CBN News, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) legal officer Col. Thomas Valmonte said operatives conducted a digging on a vacant lot within the 50-hectare compound on a tip-off.
Recovered buried about 10 feet in the ground were a firearm, hundreds of assorted live ammunitions, assorted fired cartridges and fired slugs, and three alleged improvised explosive devices.
“Itong witness na ‘to, kasama siya sa nagbaon,” Valmonte said. “Siguro nga, they expected for the search so binaon nila ‘yon.”
Police started the raid on the property on Friday by virtue of a search warrant order due to alleged violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act.
Earlier discovered were high-powered firearms, ammunition, and P18,000,000 in cash.
Valmonte is looking into the angle of terrorism in the possession of explosives.
“’Yung pampasabog, actually, when you possess it, you are intending to use it, definitely, kasi ina-assemble ‘yan eh saka hindi naman biro ang bumili ng mga explosive powder so we are looking into angle of acts of terrorism here,” he said.
“It could be the signature of the CTGs or some terrorist group from Central Mindanao,” he continued.
Philippine National Police spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the confiscated guns, live ammunition, and fired bullets will be subjected to cross-matching and ballistics examinations to look if these were used in killings.
“Napakarami na pong mga killings and shooting incidents na nangyari diyan sa probinsya ng Negros Oriental kaya magba-backtracking na po tayo ngayon,” she said.
The police raid is still ongoing as they also identified two to three more areas in the compound where weapons were allegedly buried.
Valmonte said the witness alleged that Teves was the one who ordered the burying of the firearms.
“All of the evidence or items that were found and seized are within the area that is controlled by Henry Teves as president of HDJ Tolong, it’s a corporation…siya po ang gagawin naming respondent,” he said. (5:54)
He continued, “Meron po kaming witness na nagsasabi na may mga nagu-utos na ibaon ‘yung items doon -- obiviously, ‘yung may-ari.”
Teves maintained his innocence over the seized items, noting that there are at least 200 houses within the compound where employees and relatives are residing.
He said he will order an internal investigation within the corporation.
“I will have to make my pencil pushing and I will order an investigation on the records on who went inside, who went outside,” he told ABS-CBN News in a separate telephone interview.
Teves brushed off the accusation that he ordered the burying.
“Ako? Well, sige. Okay lang lang ‘yan if ilalabas ‘yan ng witness kasi ako naman I know exactly what I have been doing for how many times. I have phone records,” Teves said.
“If they tell me that, then I would have to ask them: ‘Kilala ba kita? Saan tayo nagkita? Kailan kita inutusan?’ Kasi kung sinabi niya, tingnan na lang natin. Because, you know, that’s very… I don’t want to even say hurting words the more I would like to.”
The former official said he has a clean record in public service.
“It’s stressing for me. If you can research on my history, I have been living very simply,” he said.
Teves was unseated as Negros Oriental governor by Roel Degamo months after the May 2022 elections after the Commission on Elections nullified the latter’s victory.
Degamo was killed in an armed attack inside his private compound in Pamplona town earlier this month.
Pryde Henry Teves, Arnolfo Teves Jr., Santa Catalina, Negros Oriental, CIDG, Roel Degamo