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Manila court orders cancellation of Arnie Teves' passport
Manila court orders cancellation of Arnie Teves' passport
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Manila court orders cancellation of Arnie Teves' passport
by Christhel Cuazon10 February 2024
Photo courtesy: Arnie Teves Facebook page

Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 51 on Thursday ordered the cancellation of the passport of former Negros Oriental congressman Arnolfo 'Arnie' Teves Jr., the alleged mastermind in the brutal assassination of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo last year.

In a 14-page order, Judge Merianthe Pacita Zuraek said the prosecution had established that Teves “is a fugitive from justice."

"Further, his right to travel can be impaired as his case involves public safety per the findings/ designation of the Anti-Terror Council. His actions as well as his group indeed created fear and intimidation of the local population and government of Negros Oriental undermining public safety," the order stated.

"Thus, there exists basis or grounds for the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel accused Teves, Jr.’s passport. Accused Arnolfo Teves, Jr. is not entitled to relief from the court,” it added.

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The Manila RTC also denied Teves’ motion to oppose the prosecution’s motion to cancel his passport, saying hat he is “not entitled to relief from the court” as it has not yet acquired jurisdiction over his case.

The court directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to take proper steps for Teves to be brought back to the country.

In a statement, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said that national government will "uphold the rule of law and ensure that “all individuals, regardless of their status, are held accountable for their actions."

"This is a clear message that our society demands accountability, and we shall leave no stone unturned to bring alleged perpetrators to book. Our resolve to create a just and fair Philippine society for all is stronger than ever," Remulla said.

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However, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, the legal counsel of Teves, maintained that the order is not final and executory.

"There is still an entire slew of legal remedies available to us in order to reverse the same, and we fully intend to resort to all of them," his statement read.

“I suppose that if you have a very weak case, every tiny victory is a cause for celebration. Mr. Remulla must be reminded that there is no rational connection between the cancellation of the passport and Rep. Teves' guilt as either an alleged terrorist or an accused in a criminal case. As always, the presumption of innocence remains."

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