Teves camp to raise to CHR 'harassment' by public officials

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 14) — The camp of Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. on Tuesday said it will be raising to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) the "abuses" the lawmaker’s family has been receiving from public officials amid issues he is being linked to.

“We are now, later in the day, filing a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights against that abuse and other rights abuses being perpetrated against those who were victimized by that raid,” Ferdinand Topacio, the lawyer of Teves, told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Last week, authorities raided four properties owned by the Teves family amid issues surrounding the lawmaker.

Teves’ camp claimed that the raids did not follow protocols and that some of the seized weapons were planted.

Topacio also said one of Teves’ son was supposed to travel domestically before the raids were conducted, but was prevented by the police from boarding the airplane.

One of those arrested during the raids has also complained that she has been threatened and physically abused by authorities to testify against Teves, the lawyer added.

“We will just be bringing this to the attention of the Commission on Human Rights,” Topacio said. “Rest assured that the complaint will be under oath to give it some legal gravitas so that hopefully the Commission on Human Rights may be prodded to take action on this matter.”

Protocols followed

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police said it followed protocols in serving search warrants on Teves’ properties.

"On the part of the PNP, we stand with the statements po ng ating operating unit that they followed po the protocol and procedures po doon sa pag-implement ng search warrant,” said PNP spokesperson PCol. Jean Fajardo said in a media briefing.

[Translation: On the part of the PNP, we stand with the statements of our operating unit that they followed the protocol and procedure in the implementation of the search warrant.]

"In fact, particularly doon sa bahay ni Cong. Teves, ang nag-witness po doon ay yung mismong abogado nila at present po doon yung mga barangay officials,” she added.

[Translation: In fact, when the raid happened inside the house of Cong. Teves, their lawyer and the barangay officials were witnesses at that time.]

The PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) earlier filed multiple murder complaints against Teves in relation to the killing of at least four people in 2019.

The police said a witness testified that the lawmaker is in possession of loose firearms.

“Mayroon po tayong sinampang kaso relating to sa 2019 murder incidents sa Negros Oriental, kung saan may isa po tayong witness na may alam po siya sa pagpaplano sa tatlong insidente na yun noong 2019. He was also the one who provided information na si Cong. Teves at iba pang mga malalapit sa kanya po ay mayroon po sa kanilang pag-iingat ng loose firearms,” said Fajardo.

[Translation: We filed cases related to the 2019 murder incidents in Negros Oriental and we had a witness who has a lead on the incidents in 2019. He was also the one who provided information that Cong. Teves and those close with him possess loose firearms.]

“That was the reason kung bakit nag-apply po ang PNP-CIDG ng search warrant para doon sa mga sinasabing pinag-iingatan na loose firearms,” she added.

[Translation: That was the reason why the PNP-CIDG applied for a search warrant to look for the loose firearms.]

Teves is in an undisclosed place abroad after he flew to the United States for medical treatment on Feb. 28.

Topacio said his client is not hiding and is willing to return to the Philippines only if his security is ensured and if authorities will be fair in processing the cases. 

Fajardo reiterated that the PNP is willing to provide security to the lawmaker and his family.