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Teves camp claims terror tag as baseless
Teves camp claims terror tag as baseless
Nation
Teves camp claims terror tag as baseless
by Mary Antalan02 August 2023
Photo courtesy: RH Boy Gonzales

Suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr.’s camp on Tuesday, August 1, described the government’s terror tag as baseless.

Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer for Teves, said that move by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) did not come as a surprise, as the government is bent on pinning the lawmaker for the murder of governor Roel Degamo.

Tapacio maintained that there is not enough evidence against his client as the key witnesses against him have recanted their testimonies.

“Since Day One of the Degamo killing, the government has mobilized all the resources at its disposal – starting with immediately tagging Teves as the mastermind thereof without investigation, conducting illegal searches on his properties, laying siege to his powers and prerogatives as member of the House, embarking on a massive media campaign to discredit him and prejudice the minds of the public against him, among others – all in an obsessive attempt to blame him for a crime at the expense of his constitutional rights,” the lawyer said in a statement.

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Topacio claimed that the Anti-Terror Act was being weaponized by the government by being applied "for the purpose for which it was not designed."

“It is a sad day for the rule of law in this country, and a shocking reminder that even under constitutional and republican regime, the return to a government of men and not of laws can always ensue, especially for those targeted for destruction by the present dispensation,” he added.

Lawyers for some of the Degamo murder suspects, who were among those labelled terrorists by the ATC, are in disbelief.

Russell Miraflor, the attorney of former soldiers Rogelio Antipolo Jr., Romel Pattaguan, and Dahniel Lora, asserted that his clients did not engaged in acts of terrorism.

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Miraflor declared that they would pursue legal action to overturn the ATC's judgement.

“We cannot believe that the group of Teves was designated as terrorists. The council’s move is part of persecution by the government against congressman Teves and those who are alleged to be acquainted to him,” he stated.

Jord Valenton, the lawyer of Winrich Isturis, John Louie Ganyon, and Eulogio Gonyon Jr., argued that the ATC's decision was premature as the Department of Justice has not yet named any of his clients as among the armed individuals accused of carrying out the March 4 attack that left Degamo and nine other people dead.

The ATC also designated Nigel Electona, a former Dumaguete City police officer who is said to run the Teves family-owned business, as a terrorist.

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