PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. assured the country that they have a continuing effort to arrest ousted Negros Oriental (3rd District) Representative Arnolfo ‘Arnie’ Teves Jr. and former Bureau of Corrections chief Gerard Bantag who are both facing murder charges.
“We have an unrelenting effort to get these fugitives. Tuloy-tuloy po ang manhunt,” the PNP chief said without further elaborating.
The PNP earlier formed a tracker team to actively pursue Teves who was last seen welcoming former Senator Emmanuel Paquiao when the latter arrived at the Timor Leste airport.
The PNP is coordinating with the Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs and other government agencies to arrest the ousted lawmaker who has been tagged as the alleged ‘brains’ behind the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel R. Degamo and nine others inside the Degamo compound in Pamplona municipality last March.
Teves and four others were charged with 10 counts of murder and several counts of frustrated and attempted murder over gruesome shooting incident. The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 51 also issued a warrant of arrest against Teves and his co-accused Angelo Palagtiw, a certain “Gie Ann,” and Capt. Lloyd Garcia II.
A PNP tracker team is also going after Bantag and former BuCor deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta who have been accused of masterminding the assassination of broadcaster Percy Lapid.
A P2 million bounty has been offered by the Department of Justice for the capture of Bantag. On the other hand, a P1 million reward was offered for the arrest of Zulueta.
Bantag and Zulueta are facing murder charges before the Muntinlupa and Las Piñas regional trial courts over last year’s killing of Lapid and Cristito Villamor Palaña alias ‘Jun Villamor,’ an inmate at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Villamor was killed after he was identified as the one who allegedly hired confessed Lapid gunman Joel Escorial.
Information on the whereabouts of Bantag and Zulueta may be reported through mobile numbers 0945-8311058 and 0928-41695, said the DOJ.
Meanwhile, Pamplona town Mayor Janice Degamo has expressed her strong disapproval of what she termed an “appalling” encounter between former Negros Oriental representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. and former senator Manny Pacquiao at an airport in Timor-Leste.
In a Facebook post, Janice Degamo, the widow of former provincial governor Roel Degamo, highlighted how this meeting seemed to signify Teves’ disregard for the laws and moral standards of the country.
“Not only does this interaction raise serious ethical and legal questions, it undermines our nations international image. And it demonstrates Arnie Teves’ continued disrespect for our laws and judicial system as he so brazenly flaunts his freedom while being actively hunted for the murders of 14 of our fellow NegOrenses, including my husband. ”
“His continued abhorrent behavior proves he feels no remorse for the countless lives he has taken. And it is our duty to ensure that such an evil never takes ahold again in our great province,” she said.
A video now circulating on social media showing Teves hugging Pacquiao upon their arrival at the airport.
In a statement, Pacquiao said it was a chance encounter and not a pre-arranged meeting. With Hector Lawas