BY JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
MANILA, Philippines – The lawyer of beleaguered Congressman Arnulfo “Arnie” Teves said yesterday that his client does not own the firearms and ammos confiscated by government forces during a raid conducted on Teves’ alleged houses.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said during a press forum that prior to the raid, Congressman Teves had already surrendered all his firearms and ammunition.
Teves said: “as a precautionary measure isinurrender po namin yung mga firearms ni Congressman Teves sa proper authorities.”
“The latest was three days ago. Ako personal nag surrender nung tatlong firearms sa residence niya in Quezon City doon sa nearest precinct as provided for by the guidelines sa pag own and possess ng firearms,” the lawyer said.
Elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) raided the alleged houses of the congressman in Negros Oriental, as part of the government’s task to minimize loose firearms
Meanwhile, DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos told reporters the raid on the congressman’s houses was connected to the complaints of murder and frustrated murder filed against Congressman Teves for his alleged in a series of.
“Ikaw ba naman, hindi ka mang mang na tao, alam mo na re-raidin yung mga bahay mo, mag iiwan ka ba ng katakot takot na firearms and explosives? ‘Di ba?” Topacio explained.
“We made sure na wala nang mga firearms doon. Sinurrender na nga namin kasi alam namin re-raidin kami na nangyari na nga,” he added.
Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) raided last week the house of Congressman Arnie Teves, including some safe houses reportedly owned by the congressman.
This, after the government received intel reports the congressman is keeping some unlicensed firearms inside his house and other properties.
The raiding team raided three houses of the congressman in Bayawan City as well as a resort in Basay town, this province.
The Teves’ family has not yet issued their statements regarding the raids, but it was learned, the congressman was in the United States for medical treatment.
The DOJ Secretary yesterday said the travel order of Cong Teves was only until March 9, and he has to go back to the country to face allegations lodged against him.
On Tuesday, the PNP and CIDG filed multiple murder complaints against the congressman, in relation with his alleged involvement in a series of killings two years ago in the province.
Teves was accused as the one who allegedly ordered the assassination of former Board member Dungon after Dungon’s name reportedly appeared in a survey as top contender for a top political post in the province.
The Philippine National Police organization has relieved lthe entire police unit in this city last week, following the unaverted killing of Governor Roel Degamo and eight others on March 4.
Six alleged perpetrators tasked to assassinate the provincial governor barged into the governor’s house and opened fire upon entering the gate of the mansion. The governor died a few hours later at the hospital, including eight others whose names are not yet available at press time.
During a press briefing, Lt. Col. Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesman for the Philippine National Police Special Investigation Task Group Degamo, told the media the order came from the national headquarters in Camp Crame.
“As an operational and tactical decision of the Command, probably to make sure that the remaining suspects will be arrested. We want to make sure that we have fresh legs on the ground, to conduct the pursuit operations,” Pelare told reporters.
He said the relieved policemen in Bayawan City are temporarily assigned at the provincial PNP headquarters in Negros Oriental pending their new assignments.
Meanwhile, DILG secretary Benhur Abalos also said the suspects who are willing to testify against the mastermind are now under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the government. The DILG secretary, however, did not name the suspects under the WPP.
But it was learned by MDN that at least two of the suspects have already stated their willingness to join the program and would name the mastermind of the deadly attack that killed 9 people, including the governor of Negros Oriental.