DOJ: Ex-solon Teves can no longer use diplomatic passport

By Benjamin Pulta

February 13, 2024, 6:57 pm

<p>Former Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Former Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said fugitive former lawmaker Arnolfo Teves Jr. can no longer validly use his diplomatic passport, following a ruling by a Manila court to cancel his regular travel passport.

“(Y)ung diplomatic passport, administrative lang yan kina-cancel dahil yung Congress mismo ang nagbigay ng travel authority (The diplomatic passport it is cancelled because it was Congress that gave the travel authority), which was only, I believe, until March, so after March 8, hindi na po valid yung diplomatic passport niya dahil di na din official ung travel nya (his diplomatic passport is no longer valid because his travel is no longer official). Noong March 2023 nagsimula na sya magtago sa iba't ibang bansa para maiwasan ang charges na ihahain sa kanya (After that, he started to hide in various countries to avoid the charges filed against him),” DOJ spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano told reporters.

The DOJ said the development will hopefully prompt Teves to face the pending charges against his involvement in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and several others in March last year.

The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 51, in a Feb. 8 decision, directed the immediate cancellation of the passport of Teves, who is facing multiple murder charges and has been declared a fugitive from justice.

In compliance with the court's order, the Department of Foreign Affairs was directed to cancel Teves' passport while the National Bureau of Investigation was instructed to take appropriate measures to facilitate the return of the accused to the country.

Teves remains at large and last reported to be in East Timor.

The court noted that the severity of the charges against Teves and his designation as a terrorist by the Anti-Terrorism Council justifies the cancellation of his travel documents. (PNA)