THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila City has ordered the arrest of expelled Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. and several others in connection with the murder of Gov. Roel Degamo and nine others last March 4.
In a six-page order issued by Manila RTC Branch 51 Presiding Judge Merianthe Pacita Zuraek, the RTC also issued an e-warrant against T Angelo Palagtiw, a certain “Gie Ann” or “Jie An,” and Captain Lloyd Cruz Garcia II, who were all implicated in the crime.
Likewise, the court issued a commitment order for the transfer of Nigel Electona, also an accused in the case, from the custody of the Manila City Jail to the Metro Manila District Jail-Annex, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) compound in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
The RTC reset the arraignment and pre-trial conference on the case to October 4, 2023.
“The hearing on September 6, 2023 in the afternoon is cancelled,” the court said.
At a news briefing, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the justice department will write the United Nations to compel its member-states to help the Philippine government in bringing Teves back to the country and face trial for 10 counts of murder and several counts of frustrated and attempted murder over Degamo’s killing.
“We are confident the courts will be positive in the grant of warrants of arrest. After this is done, then we will have the right to inform the United Nations of this, that the designated terrorist now have murder cases and they should stand trial in our country and that we are asking them to ask the member-states of the UN to acknowledge their duty of rendition to bring back Mr. Teves to the Philippines for trial,” Remulla told reporters.
Earlier, the Anti-Terrorism Council found probable cause to designate Teves, his brother Pryde Henry Teves and 11 other individuals as terrorists belonging to the so-called “Teves Terrorist Group” (TTG).
The move has allowed the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to investigate and freeze the financial assets and properties of Teves and the other members of the TTG.
Teves, who is being accused of masterminding Degamo’s killing, is believed to be moving around in Timor Leste, Cambodia and Thailand to evade arrest.
The DOJ chief said with the issuance of the arrest warrant, Teves’ movement would be more difficult.
“We think he is in hiding in Timor Leste. He is just moving around in Timor Leste, Cambodia and Thailand,” Remulla said.
The former lawmaker earlier sought political asylum in Timor Leste but his bid was denied by its government.
Teves refused to return to the country, citing threats to his life despite assurance from the government of his safe return.
The Teves camp has yet to issue a statement on the court’s issuance of an arrest warrant against him.