MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — More than 2 months since the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, the alleged “main mastermind,” suspended Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Jr., finally faces murder raps before the Department of Justice.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Wednesday said the filing of multiple murder and frustrated murder complaints is ongoing at the DOJ.
“It’s ongoing right now. The NBI is here already and I was told by NBI Director Medardo de Lemos that they are coming over to file the complaint,” he told the media.
The complaints are in connection with the assassination of Degamo and 9 others in his house in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on March 4.
Remulla previously tagged Teves as the “executive director” behind the killings, along with his former aide Marvin Miranda, described as the “casting director.”
Teves maintained that he and his clan had nothing to do with the crime.
Eleven suspects, including Miranda, are now facing murder charges in court.
When asked about the formal filing of murder charges against Rep. Teves, Degamo's widow, Pamplona, Negros Oriental Mayor Janice Degamo, described it as a "step closer to finding justice for all of them."
"[W]e are hoping [that] in the not-so-distant future we will be able to get the justice for all of them," she told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
Up until Wednesday, Teves faced no complaints in connection with Degamo’s killing but he is facing other murder complaints for the 2019 murders in Negros Oriental and illegal possession of firearms and explosives -- all of which are undergoing preliminary investigation at the DOJ.
He has remained outside the country since his trip to the United States in March.
He was previously reported to be in Cambodia before seeking asylum in Timor-Leste. That asylum bid was rejected but Teves is appealing the decision.
Remulla announced Tuesday that Teves might return to the Philippines on Wednesday morning, citing a “reliable source” from the airport knowledgeable with flight details.
But Teves on Wednesday morning denied he was going home.
“Fake news ang balitang uuwi ako. Sana tinanong muna nila ako bago sila nagbitaw ng salita,” Teves told House reporters in a message.
(This is fake news. They should have asked me first before making an announcement.)
Remulla said Wednesday Teves already had a flight ticket for his return to the Philippines but if he doesn’t go home, his flight from the country can be taken as an indication of guilt.
Authorities have yet to release a copy of the complaint.
But the earlier DOJ prosecutors’ resolution indicting Miranda claimed there were 2 prior attempts to kill Degamo allegedly orchestrated by Teves — one in December 2022 using a rocket-propelled grenade and another one in February 2023 through a sniper during a mass wedding.
On both occasions, a witness said Miranda explained to Teves over the phone why the assassination attempt failed.
Remulla had also previously told reporters that 7 to 8 suspects pointed to Teves’ involvement in the Degamo slay, with 5 suspects claiming they saw Teves’ face through a video call with Miranda.
Miranda himself allegedly escaped using a helicopter bearing the slogan “Teves cares.”
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