Teves now under house arrest in Timor-Leste
24-HOUR SECURITY IN PLACE TO PREVENT ESCAPE

Teves now under house arrest in Timor-Leste

/ 05:46 AM June 14, 2024

Teves now under house arrest in Timor-Leste

Former Rep. Arnoldo Teves with lawyer Ferdinand Topacio. His lawyer said Teves was released from preventive detention in Becora Prison in Dili, Timor Leste. (Photo from Atty. Ferdinand Topacio)

Fugitive and expelled lawmaker Arnolfo Teves Jr. has been placed under house arrest in Timor-Leste, the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed on Thursday.

“He will be under 24-hour security, with only family members permitted to visit him,” the DOJ said in a statement, adding that the Philippine government would closely monitor the situation to ensure that all procedures were “valid and appropriate.”

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Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez said in a separate statement that whether the former congressman would be in custody, rearrested or under house arrest, he was still “under the control of the police authorities.”

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“Simply put, he is deprived of liberty. Ongoing extradition hearings now,” Vasquez said. Teves’ legal counsel in the Philippines, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, said the Timorese court issued the order to place his client under house arrest on Wednesday.

READ: Teves released from detention in Timor-Leste, says his lawyer

“After having determined that he is not a flight risk and that he has not violated any laws, he was placed under guard in his residence simply to ensure his attendance in the hearings,” Topacio said. Timor-Leste media agency Hatutan.com first reported the decision of the Court of Appeals in Dili to place the lawmaker under house arrest while awaiting his extradition proceedings.

Still a flight risk

In a GMA News report that cited data from Hatutan.com, the Timorese court reportedly noted that Teves was living in a rented house with a monthly rent of $10,000 with his wife and two children.

He was also reportedly working as a partner in a construction firm, receiving financial support from the owner. “Given the facts above, it is concluded that the risk of flight persists for extraditee, especially since he has the financial means to leave Timor-Leste,” the court said, contrary to Topacio’s statement that his client was no longer a flight risk.

Teves, who fled to Timor-Leste to evade prosecution for multiple charges, including murder, in the Philippines, was arrested by authorities on March 21. He has been tagged as the brains in the March 2023 killing of his political rival, former Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, and nine other individuals in Pamplona town.

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