'Intercept' order for Teves part of protocol, says immigration bureau

Rowegie Abanto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2023 03:50 PM | Updated as of May 19 2023 05:55 PM

MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday said that an order to monitor and "intercept" suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. should he arrive in the Philippines was part of its protocol.

"The BI wishes to clarify that such instruction is merely a part of the BI’s protocols in monitoring individuals who are subject of high-profile cases," the BI said in a statement. 

"Coordination with local law enforcement agencies is crucial in the proper implementation of BI procedures," it added.

In a video uploaded earlier Friday, Teves showed an alleged message from Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco ordering immigration personnel to "instantaneously intercept" the lawmaker "if encountered" and coordinate with law enforcement. 

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier this week said Teves might return to the Philippines on May 17. The lawmaker dismissed this as "fake news."

"Ito pala ang totoong rason kung bakit nila ako gustong umuwi," Teves said in the video uploaded on his Facebook page. "May order ngayon na pag ako ay dumating ako ay i-intercept," he said.

(This is the real reason why they want me to go home. There is an order that when I arrive I will be intercepted.)

"Mas malala pa dito meron silang masamang balak sa aking pagkatao at sa aking buhay," Teves alleged. "Ngayon alam n'yo na kung bakit ayokong umuwi."

(What's even worse than this, they have bad plans for my life. Now you know why I don't want to go home.)

Remulla previously tagged Teves as the "executive director" behind the brazen 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. He has cited supposed threats to his life for his refusal to return to the country. 

But authorities, including President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., previously assured Teves' safety once he chooses to personally face the accusations against him.

The BI said in its statement that it was "committed to ensuring fair, safe, and proper processing of all immigration-related matters, with a strong focus on protecting the rights and welfare of individuals."

"Additionally, the BI received a request from the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group yesterday to expedite Cong. Teves’ arrival formalities should he arrive [in] the country, as they will be providing security assistance to ensure his security and safety," it added.


Teves insisted that authorities should not arrest him, slamming the alleged move as "political persecution" and an abuse of his rights.

"Hindi ako dapat i-intercept, hindi ako dapat hulihin. At hindi ako dapat ikulong. Ngayon, bakit sila may order na ganito? Pabalik-balik ko itong itatanong," the lawmaker said. 

(I must not be intercepted, I must not be captured. And I should not be locked up. Now, why do they have an order like this? I will ask this again and again.)

But the BI said making an arrest was not within its scope.

On May 17, multiple murder and frustrated murder complaints were filed against Teves before the Department of Justice in connection with the assassination of Degamo and 9 others in his house in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on March 4. 

Remulla said that "flight is an indication of guilt," referring to Teves' refusal to return home. Teves maintained that he is innocent until proven guilty.

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