Teves’ camp on going to trial: We have full faith in the judiciary

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — The legal team of former Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves on Friday said it is “confident” that the congressman's innocence will be proven once everything is settled in court, emphasizing its “full faith in the judiciary.”

A Manila court earlier issued a warrant of arrest against Teves for the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and nine others last March 4 in the local official's home in Pamplona town.

READ: Manila court issues arrest warrant vs. Teves over Pamplona massacre

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Teves’ head legal counsel, said: “A part of me welcomes the fact that the case is already going to trial sapagkat makikita natin yung bankruptcy nung legal position ng [because we will see the bankruptcy of the legal position of the] DOJ (Department of Justice), but that is a matter for the court to decide.”

“We still have full faith in the judiciary. I’m confident that when everything is settled lalabas na inosente si Teves [it will be revealed that Teves is innocent],” he added.

Topacio also maintained that they are seriously considering legal options, such as questioning the warrant before the Court of Appeals for “grave abuse of discretion.”

The former congressman’s legal team is looking to challenge the finding of probable cause at the prosecutors’ level by filing a petition for review before the justice secretary.

“Which may be futile sapagkat ipinakita naman po ng DOJ ang kanilang bias and partiality against Congressman Teves. So kanino kami a-appeal? Doon sa secretary [Jesus Remulla] na from day one na nagsasabing guilty si Teves?” Topacio explained.

[Translation: Which may be futile because the DOJ has shown its bias and partiality against Teves. So who will we appeal to? With Remulla, who said Teves was guilty from day one?]

He disclosed that he and his client have not yet received the DOJ’s resolution or arrest warrant.

Topacio also shared that he advised Teves – who is very active on his Facebook page – to take a social media break to avoid commenting on the case which is now in court.

The lawyer revealed too that Teves would not return to the Philippines “in the foreseeable future” to face the charges.

Meanwhile, Teves’ legal team plans to appeal the congressman’s expulsion last month from the House of Representatives for “disorderly behavior and for violation of the Code of Conduct of the House of Representatives.”

READ: Rep. Teves expelled from House

CNN Philippines' senior correspondent Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.