DOJ confirms Teves release from house arrest in Timor-Leste

DOJ confirms Teves release from house arrest in Timor-Leste

/ 05:24 AM June 23, 2024

DOJ confirms Teves release from house arrest in Timor-Leste

Former Rep. Arnoldo Teves (white shirt), with lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, when he was first released from preventive detention in Becora Prison in Dili, Timor Leste early this month. —photo from Atty. Ferdinand Topacio

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed on Saturday that the house arrest of murder suspect Arnolfo Teves Jr. in Dili, Timor-Leste, ended on Friday because Timorese authorities can only restrict individuals for a maximum of 90 days.

However, the DOJ said, the Court of Appeals, which is hearing the Philippine extradition request, is expected to come out with a decision next week and Teves had been ordered to present himself in court every two days.

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READ: Teves now under house arrest in Timor Leste

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The DOJ said the court has also notified land, sea, and air border authorities to keep Teves within Dili, and all of Teves’ documents are still in the possession of security forces.

Teves’ lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said the court’s conditions also included a “commitment” not to leave Timor-Leste while the case is still pending.

Defects in extradition request

“Otherwise, he has been restored to full liberty in accordance with the order of the Timor-Leste high court’s voiding of the [preventive] detention order due to defects in the extradition request,” Topacio said.

According to Topacio, the court’s recent release order validated their camp’s earlier report that Teves was not “re-arrested” by Timorese authorities, but was merely taken into judicial custody to attend the hearings for his extradition case.

Teves fled to Timor-Leste to evade prosecution for multiple charges, including murder, in the Philippines. He was arrested by Timorese authorities on March 21.

He has been tagged as the alleged mastermind 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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‘Favorable decision’

On June 12, the former congressman was placed under house arrest by the Court of Appeals in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, while awaiting his extradition proceedings.

Earlier this week, the DOJ announced that the Philippine government was expecting a decision on the extradition case by the end of the month after it had confirmed the conclusion of court hearings.

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Both parties were given time to submit their respective position papers outlining their arguments and positions, the DOJ said, as it expressed optimism that the Timorese Court of Appeals would make a “favorable decision” on the case.

TAGS: Arnolfo Teves Jr., Department of Justice (DOJ)

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