NEGROS Oriental Third District Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves can now be considered a fugitive from justice due to his failure to return to the country and face allegations linking him in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and eight others last March 4.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla made the statement in response to the claim made by Teves’ lawyer Ferdinand Topacio that his client is not a fugitive since no warrant of arrest has been issued by any court against him.
“When one is suspected of having committed a crime, he is already suspected to be [and] considered to be a fugitive because he does not show up. Actions would speak louder than words here, he is not showing up. He is evading us, or trying to evade the law,” Remulla said over ANC’s Headstart.
Remulla earlier disclosed that Teves is now being considered as one of the possible masterminds in the Degamo slay case based on the evidence so far gathered by authorities doing the case build-up.
He said the inter-agency task force mandated to resolve the Degamo killing is still looking for at least two to four more personalities as possible masterminds.
Teves, who has denied any involvement in the Degamo killing, went to the United States last February 28 to undergo stem cell treatment and was supposed to return to the country on March 9.
However, Teves expressed apprehension to return to the country due to alleged threats to his life.
This prompted the House of Representative to impose a 60-day suspension against him due to his failure to comply with the ultimatum for his return.
Teves was given two deadlines to report to the House, the first deadline was on March 15 and then a 24-hour ultimatum issued last March 20.
Remulla, however, assured that Teves’ right to due process would be respected once he returns to the country.
“That is how the law works, we have to respect the due process of law. We have to respect it. Unless it’s in hot pursuit, we cannot arrest a person, we have to give him the light of day in court or in the PI [preliminary investigation],” Remulla said.