Suspended Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. is not returning home yet despite appeals from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and other government authorities for him to answer the charges levelled against him in relation to the assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo.
Teves’ counsel, Ferdinand Topacio, said his client has made certain requests to ensure his safe return to the country, some of which were rejected.
“I had two interactions with Speaker [Martin] Romualdez. Of course,the details I cannot divulge because of our gentleman’s agreement. But Congressman (Teves) made certain requests for his return in order to ensure his safety,” Topacio said during a media briefing Saturday.
“He appeals that his requests be granted for his safety. This isneither for any special treatment nor a bargaining expedition. Just for his safety,” Topacio added.
Topacio declined to divulge the requests being made by his client to convince the latter “to surrender.”
He said Teves will not return home until these requests are guaranteed, adding that his client is ready to face the court.
“(Romualdez) did not mislead us. He said ‘We can do these requests. We cannot do these requests,’” Topacio said.
Earlier, Mr. Marcos told Teves that “the more you let this drag on, the more difficult your situation will be.”
“If it comes to a point that it’s too late, then the government will be forced to make its move. We will have to move without any discussion with him,” the President said.
Justice Secretary Jesus Remulla urged Teves to “stop the drama” and just face the music.
Meanwhile, Topacio tagged as “premature” Remulla’s remark that the Degamo slay case is 99 percent solved.
“With all due respect to our good friend Secretary Remulla who said it was ‘99 percent solved.’ It is never 99 percent, 100 percent, 70 percent, 50 percent solved at this stage. It is too early,” he said.
“Until and unless there is a preliminary investigation, a case is brought to court, there is a trial and the accused is convicted by final judgement, it is not solved. These statements do not help,” Topacio said.
On Friday, Remulla said the National Bureau of Investigation arrested an alleged mastermind in the killing of Degamo.
“The NBI was able to catch a main player, a main player. A name we have not discussed, we have never discussed here. But practically, I would say in my reading of the situation one of the masterminds was caught today,” Remulla told reporters.
Remulla would not release the name of the suspect, however, but said the case is “99 percent solved.”
“I’m just telling you that there’s a breakthrough, it’s 99 percent solved. The Degamo case is 99 percent solved,” Remulla said.