Teves on Remulla’s claim on his possible return: ‘Fake news’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — Suspended Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves belied the claim of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla that he will return to the Philippines on Wednesday.

Teves, the alleged mastermind in the assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, dismissed Remulla's announcement as “fake news.”

“Sana tinanong muna nila ako bago sila nagbitaw ng salita," the lawmaker said in a message to CNN Philippines.

[Translation: They could have asked me first before announcing anything.]

Remulla earlier said Teves may have decided to return as it was “becoming more difficult” for him to travel to other countries while on Interpol notice.

Teves has denied involvement in the killing of Degamo.

He sought political asylum from Timor-Leste, but the application was denied.

The lawmaker faced a 60-day suspension in March due to his failure to return to the Philippines from his medical treatment in the United States after his travel authority expired. The suspension runs until May 22.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is on alert if Teves decides to come home.

According to PNP Chief Public Information Officer PBGen. Red Maranan, they have alerted the PNP Aviation Security Group and the Civil Aviation Authority to assist the embattled congressman.

The PNP addressed concerns of Teves regarding his security by further reiterating that he will be in safe hands.

The police force, however, did not disclose where Teves will be taken upon his arrival.

In an interview with CNN Philippines’ Balitaan, Teves' lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said Remulla's claim is irresponsible.

“To announce that someone is on his way back ng walang (without) verification, I think, is the height of irresponsibility,” he said.

Topacio also reiterated that there is “no reason” for Teves to be in the Philippines amid "a serious and grave threat to his life.”

CNN Philippines Correspondents Xianne Arcangel and Crissy Dimatulac contributed to this report.