Teves arrested while golfing in Timor-Leste

Teves arrested while golfing in Timor-Leste

/ 05:30 AM March 22, 2024

Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves


Former Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., who faces charges for being the alleged mastermind behind the killing of a political rival in 2023, was arrested in Timor-Leste on Thursday afternoon.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the arrest, saying the expelled lawmaker and “designated terrorist” was playing golf in the capital Dili when captured, and that he was placed in the custody of the East Timorese police pending extradition to the Philippines.


“Today’s apprehension of Teves is a testament to the power of international cooperation. It sends a clear message that no terrorist can evade justice and that nations stand united in safeguarding the safety and security of their citizens,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a statement late Thursday night.


READ: DOJ confirms Teves’ arrest in East Timor

“The capture of Teves only proves that through concerted efforts and determination, terrorism can be thwarted and peace preserved,” the DOJ chief said, thanking the East Timorese police and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

Teves was arrested “at around 4 p.m. while playing golf at the Top Golf Driving Range and Bar,” the agency added.

Addressing Teves, Remulla said: “Face your long-delayed trial without setting any conditions, face the courts squarely.”

On Feb. 28, Remulla announced that Interpol had issued a red notice for Teves, who is facing multiple charges, including murder, frustrated murder, and attempted murder, over the March 4, 2023, killing of then Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and nine others.


READ: Interpol issues Red Notice for former lawmaker Teves

A red notice is a “request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.”

Remulla then said that following the issuance of the red notice, there would be an “active search” for Teves, who had been reportedly hiding in Timor-Leste after his petition for political asylum in that country was denied.

Teves is accused of being the mastermind in the assassination of Degamo in a brazen daytime attack carried out by a group of gunmen at his residential compound in Pamplona town.

He is also facing charges in connection with the killing of three persons from March to June 2019 and for violation of gun-control laws after high-powered weapons and rounds of ammunition were found on his family property.

The Anti-Terrorism Council designated him and an armed group he allegedly coddled as a terrorist organization in June 2023.

In August 2023, he was expelled from the House of Representatives for his long unauthorized absence, his asylum bid, and his indecent behavior on social media.

In February 2024, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 51 ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel his passport after he was declared a fugitive from justice.

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In Thursday’s statement, Remulla thanked Philippine and international law enforcement partners for the arrest and “their relentless efforts in fighting lawlessness to [achieve] peace.”

The Interpol’s Dili bureau was working on Teves’ extradition with its counterpart in Manila and the Philippine Embassy in the Timor-Leste capital, he added.

TAGS: arrest, Timor Leste

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