The Department of Justice (DOJ) will consider Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr.’s continued failure to return to the Philippines to face the accusations and charges against him as ‘absconding.’
“Meron tayong legal adage na mabigat diyan: Flight is an indication of guilt. We will consider this a case of flight kapag hindi siya bumalik sa bansa,” said Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.
It is known that Teves went to the United States, but the DOJ has information that he has already left that country and is staying in another country in Asia and does not want to return to the Philippines.
According to Teves’ camp, the lawmaker is said to fear for his security after the charges filed against him and the raid on his houses. He has also asked Congress to extend his leave for two months.
Right now, the DOJ continues to gather more evidence on the death of Governor Roel Degamo, but the statements they gathered go straight to Teves.
“Kasi hindi naman puwedeng… accusatory process na walang ebidensya. Titignan natin ‘yung ibang ebidensya. Titignan natin ‘yung puwede natin makalap na facts para sabihin natin ‘yung fairness hindi makwe-kwestyon,” said Remulla.
DOJ considers Teves’ refusal to return to PH an escape
Teves initially insisted that he and his brother Pryde Henry Teves had nothing to do with Degamo’s death.
Meanwhile, Speaker Martin Romualdez said he will not interfere in the ongoing investigation by the Ethics committee related to Teves still not returning home even though his travel authority has expired.
“Atty. Topacio sought a private meeting with me Wednesday night to personally relay some concerns of his client. In that meeting, I reiterated my stand that Cong Arnie should return to the country and report for work at once,” said Romualdez.
“I strongly urge Cong Arnie to reconsider his decision not to return. It does not sit well for a House Member to flee the country rather than avail himself of all the legal remedies available to him,” he added.
Romualdez also informed Topacio of the decision of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate Teves because of his continued absence from the House session even though the travel authority given to him by the House leadership expired on March 9 when he went to America.