Teves dares Remulla to resign over Timor-Leste citizenship claim

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — Suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. dared Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla to resign Wednesday if his claim that the lawmaker applied for citizenship in Timor-Leste is proven false.

In a video uploaded on his Facebook page, Teves said he will return to the Philippines if there was proof that he sought citizenship in Timor-Leste.

“Hinahamon kita. Nagsabi ka ‘di ba, na nag-apply ako ng citizenship sa Timor. Ngayon, ‘pag sinungaling ang sinabi mo? Resign ka? Kung totoo, uuwi ako. Will you take my challenge? That’s my challenge to you. Saksi ang buong bansa at buong mundo,” the embattled lawmaker said.

[Translation: I'm challenging you. You said that I applied for citizenship in Timor. Now, if what you said was a lie, will you resign? If it's true, I'll return home. Will you take my challenge? That's my challenge to you. The whole country and the whole world are our witnesses.]

Remulla said last week that he knew Teves applied for citizenship in Timor-Leste but did not disclose details about his supposed application. The lawmaker sought political asylum in the Southeast Asian country but it was denied.

RELATED: Timor-Leste denies Teves' application for political asylum

Teves, who has been tagged as the mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine others, was suspended by the House of Representatives for another 60 days beginning May 31 over his continued unauthorized absence from work.

He has yet to return to the country after leaving for the United States last February.

In the Facebook video, Teves said Remulla should also explain how the suspects in Degamo’s assassination were able to escape using aircraft that had small seating capacity.

Remulla said last month that a helicopter owned by Teves was used to transport the gunmen tagged in Degamo’s killing out of the province.

Murder complaints have been filed against Teves in connection with Degamo’s killing, as well as other deaths in Negros Oriental. He maintains his innocence but insists he cannot go home yet due to threats to his life.