Timor-Leste denies Teves' application for political asylum

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 9) — Embattled Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. has been ordered to leave Timor-Leste within five days after his application for political asylum was rejected by the government there, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Tuesday.

The update came hours after Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla revealed that Teves is currently in the capital city of Dili and has applied "for a protection visa with the intent of asylum."

Remulla also informed DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo of Teves' whereabouts in a letter dated May 8.

"Today, the Ministry of Interior of Timor-Leste confirmed that Representative Teves' application for political asylum has been denied," the DFA said in a statement.

"In accordance with the decision of the Timor-Leste Government, Representative Teves has been granted a period of five (5) days to depart Timor-Leste," it added.

During that period, the DFA noted that the congressman has the option to appeal the decision.

Earlier, Remulla said there is no valid reason for Teves to seek asylum.

"There’s this special provision in law for that if you want to seek asylum. Usually, it’s for political purposes. But we don’t see any political reason for him to seek asylum in Timor-Leste," he said. "It’s really for not wanting to face the consequences of certain actions by which he’s being held to account for."

His letter to Manalo also stated that the DOJ took "concrete steps" to designate Teves as a terrorist under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Teves has been tagged as the alleged mastermind in the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

He flew to the US late February for medical treatment, but the travel authority issued to him by the House of Representatives expired on March 9. The chamber suspended him for his continued absence.