Remulla: Teves allegedly under protection of warlords

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) — Expelled Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. is allegedly still hiding in Southeast Asia and is being protected by “a few local warlords,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said on Wednesday.

“Yun ang balita sa'min [That’s the information that reached us],” he said in a media briefing.

“Pero titignan natin kasi ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) ‘yan eh [But we’ll see, because that’s ASEAN]. Under the ASEAN, we can actually ask them more upfront about what's happening in their countries, especially somebody who is a known terrorist being harbored by anybody,” the official added.

Remulla, meanwhile, also said the government is still finalizing its letter to the United Nations, informing the body that an arrest order has been issued against Teves who has been designated as a terrorist. 

Earlier this month, a Manila court issued an arrest warrant against the ex-congressman for the murder of former Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine others in March.

Asked if the supposed warlords are seen to hinder the arrest, Remulla said he believes they won’t be a problem. He added that Philippine authorities are now tracking Teves’ movements more tightly.

“We consider it our duty to inform the United Nations, so that the United Nations may as well do its duty of informing all the member-states about the duty of rendition to arrest Arnie Teves and company and bring them back to the Philippines for trial,” Remulla said.

He explained that “duty of rendition” compels other nations to arrest terrorists and bring them back to the country where they are wanted on suspicion of criminal activities.

In a statement on Thursday, Teves’ lawyer Atty. Ferdinand Topacio questioned Remulla’s claims, daring him to identify the supposed warlords.

"Which 'warlords' is he talking about? Who are these 'warlords'? How do they even qualify as warlords? Mr. Remulla, could you please identify who these warlords are [and] where and why they are considered warlords? Are they in Afghanistan? In Somalia?” he said.

“And please do not hide behind your stock answer of purportedly not dignifying questions from us, which we all know is the way of the weakling. These are legitimate questions,” he added.

Teves has denied the accusations against him, including his alleged links to killings in his province, calling them a form of "political persecution."

CNN Philippines’ Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.