Teves lawyer disputes DOJ account of Timor-Leste ‘bribery’

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio INQUIRER.NET FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — A lawyer of expelled congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. refuted the statement of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that the ex-lawmaker’s son offered money to a law enforcement officer in Timor-Leste in exchange for a favorable treatment of his father while in detention.

“On the contrary, it was the officer who demanded money from my client’s son and the matter has been reported and is under investigation,” Ferdinand Topacio said in a message to reporters on Friday.

READ: DOJ seeks speedy Teves return, but delay seen

Appeal to expedite

On Thursday, the DOJ appealed to Timor-Leste authorities for the immediate extradition or deportation of Teves, citing reports that his son bribed a member of the Criminal Investigation Police (PCIC).

“Reports said the son of Teves Jr. offered a bribe to a PCIC member in the amount of $2,000 (over P114,000) in exchange for ‘security’ inside and outside Becora Prison, where he is being held while waiting for his extradition or deportation,” the department said in a statement.

Teves, who faces charges for allegedly masterminding behind the killing of a political rival in 2023, is currently in pretrial detention at Becora Prison following his arrest on March 21.

“Go home and face the court squarely,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told Teves in the DOJ statement.

“Let us stop playing hide and seek with the law, one cannot evade accountability for eternity. Prolonging your liabilities with the rule of law only worsens your predicament,” he added. —JANE BAUTISTA