DOJ junks one of several illegal firearms complaints vs. Teves

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18) An illegal possession of firearms complaint lodged against Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. was dismissed, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Saturday.

In a media forum, DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano explained that the complaint lacked basis.

However, he reiterated that the lawmaker, who has been tagged in the spate of killings in his province, is not yet off the hook as he is still facing several other complaints.

"Na-dismiss po 'yung isang kaso of illegal possession of firearms," Clavano told reporters. "But like I mentioned a while ago, there are eight other cases against the congressman, isa lang po 'yun."

"It goes to show na wala tayong pinipilit dito," he also said. "Kung manipis ang kaso, especially in this case na wala namang conspiracy to possess firearms, dini-dismiss ng DOJ 'yon dahil wala naman talagang basis."

[Translation: One case of illegal possession of firearms was dismissed but like I mentioned a while ago, there are eight other cases against the congressman, that's just one. It goes to show that we are not forcing anything here. If the case is not strong, especially in this case that there was no conspiracy to possess firearms, the DOJ dismisses that because there is no basis.]

Teves and his two sons were earlier slapped with complaints for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, which stemmed from police raids on the lawmaker's properties in Bayawan City, where firearms and explosives were confiscated.

PNP to explore legal remedies

The Philippine National Police (PNP) — which filed the complaint against Teves — said it has yet to receive a copy of the DOJ resolution.

"If this is true, we respect the findings and disposition of the DOJ on this particular case," PNP spokesperson Jean Fajardo said in a media briefing also on Saturday.

She added that once the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) receives a copy, it will "exhaust all available legal remedies."

Fajardo said the CIDG is confident it has strong evidence to back the complaints.

Major development on Degamo slay case

Meanwhile, Clavano stressed that Teves is "still considered as one of the suspects and mastermind" in the assassination of provincial governor Roel Degamo.

Teves' camp has repeatedly denied this allegation.

The PNP, on the other hand, said the public can expect a "major development" in the murder case "in the coming days."