Timorese leader wants Teves sent home ASAP
NBI meeting

Timorese leader wants Teves sent home ASAP

/ 05:32 AM March 24, 2024

Timor-Leste President José Ramos-Horta speaks during a bilateral meeting in Malacañang on Friday, November 10, 2023. Photo from RTV Malacañang.

FILE PHOTO: Timor-Leste President José Ramos-Horta. —Photo from RTV Malacañang

Timor-Leste President José Ramos-Horta wants Filipino lawmaker-turned-fugitive Arnolfo Teves Jr. returned immediately to the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said on Saturday following a meeting with the Timorese leader.

NBI Director Medardo de Lemos led the team that the bureau sent to Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital. He was accompanied by Filipinas Astrero, who heads the NBI’s International Operations Division, and four other agents.


Teves, who is wanted for the murder last year of his political rival Roel Degamo, was arrested by Dili police on Thursday while playing golf. Police were acting on a “red notice” on the expelled congressman issued by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in February.


READ: DOJ confirms Teves’ arrest in East Timor

In a statement on Saturday, the NBI said regarding its meeting with the Timorese leader that “President Horta communicated his earnest desire for the immediate resolution of the case and emphasized the importance of expeditiously removing Teves from Timor-Leste.”

De Lemos conveyed to Ramos-Horta his appreciation for the quick action by Dili police in arresting Teves.

The NBI said it is currently coordinating with authorities in Dili to bring Teves home, despite his lawyer’s assertion to the contrary that this procedure could take some time because Teves’ case must first be brought before a Timorese court.

Teves’ lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, also said on Friday that his client has assembled a legal team led by two former top officials in Timor-Leste.

Senate inquiry

Topacio said a trial was held on Saturday, with his client’s detention in Timor-Leste extended by the court for another 15 days maximum, or for the possible duration of the trial.


“The first batch of NBI agents, including Dir. Lemos, have left TL (Timor-Leste) after realizing that they would not be able to bring Mr. Teves home with them until after the trial,” the lawyer said.Meanwhile, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said the Senate may reopen its investigation into Degamo’s murder.

Dela Rosa, who had led the probe as chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said he would consult with the committee secretariat if there was still a need to resume the inquiry into the killing of Degamo and nine others by armed men who entered his home on March 4 last year. Degamo, at that time, was governor of Negros Oriental, Teves’ bailiwick. “It would be better for (Teves) to cooperate in our investigation so he could shed light on the killing of (Degamo),” the senator told dwIZ. “We can reopen our investigation. But it can wait. The more important thing is that he’s already in custody to face the cases against him.”

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“You cannot avoid the long arms of the law forever. It will catch up on you eventually,” added the senator and former chief of the Philippine National Police. —WITH A REPORT FROM MARLON RAMOS

TAGS: Arnolfo Teves Jr., East Timor, NBI

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