MANILA — Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnulfo Teves Jr. on Wednesday denied allegations of sowing fear among residents in his province and defended a surprise birthday greeting thrown for him by some policemen.
A long line of Negrenses on Tuesday asked the Senate Committee on Public Order to intervene amid the supposed threats from the lawmaker's clan.
“Ganito lang kasimple yun boss: Kung nakakatakot ako ba't andaming nagpapa-picture sa akin?” Teves told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
“Kung kahit saan-saan ako pumunta para din akong artista. I’m a celebrity. People want to have their picture taken, my picture taken with them. Magpapaicture ka ba sa taong nakakatakot? Hindi naman ‘di ba?” he said.
(It's this simple: if people are afraid of me, why do they like taking pictures with me? Wherever I go, I'm like a celebrity. People want to have their picture taken, my picture taken with them. Will you take a picture with a fearsome man?)
“Sabay, tingnan niyo kung ilang followers nila sa social media at ilan followers ko. I’m more of a celebrity than them so, wala naman yatang celebrity [na] nakakatakot,” he added.
(Look at my social media following, then look at theirs. I'm more of a celebrity than they are, and there is no such thing as a scary celebrity.)
Teves is fighting allegations of involvement in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and 8 others in March.
The lawmaker earlier said he and his clan had nothing to do with the assassination. He has yet to return from abroad, citing alleged threats to his life.
TEVES: WHAT'S WRONG WITH MAÑANITA?
In the TeleRadyo interview, Teves also spoke up on a video of his “mañanita” or a birthday surprise thrown for him by local policemen.
“May pumunta doon, nag-greet ng happy birthday. Anong masama doon? Meron bang masama sa ganoon?” he asked.
“Tanong natin sa mga netizens, kung masama ba na isang pulis or ilang pulis, or ilang fireman mag-greet sa ’yo.”
(They came and they greeted me happy birthday. Is there anything wrong with that? Let's ask netizens if there is something wrong with police or firemen greeting you happy birthday.)
Addressing policemen’s alleged closeness to his family, he added, “Dikit ako sa lahat ng tao dahil mahal ako ng tao eh. Hindi lang sa pulis, lahat mahal ako.”
“Iisipin mo nanalo ako nung eleksyon kahit hindi ako nagkampanya. Sa totoo lang nung eleksyon isang beses lang ako, nagkampanya pala ako once. The whole election time I campaigned only once. Nanalo ako nang konti lang dahil grabe yung kampanya nila.”
(I'm close to everyone because everyone loves me. Not just policemen. Think of it this way: I campaigned literally once during the election season. I won, albeit by a small margin because of all the negative campaigning they did.)
Teves said he would come home to the Philippines “when I see fairness” in the justice system.