JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has dismissed as tales from the Arabian Nights the allegations made by the camp of Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. that Justice Department officials attempted to bribe one of the alleged masterminds in the high-profile killing of provincial governor Roel Degamo.
Remulla, a former congressional representative who now serves in the Marcos administration, referred to the allegations as “baloney” and trash in a chance interview.
According to Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Teves’ counsel, they received information that Marvin Miranda was approached and offered a hefty bribe to testify against the twice suspended lawmaker.
“We are verifying these reports, but rest assured that they come from sources [that] have been reliable in the past,” Topacio was quoted to have said.
Remulla previously asserted that Miranda played a significant role in Degamo’s assassination, referring to him as the “executive producer” in the context of a movie.
He recently disclosed that the suspects in Degamo’s killing were allegedly offered a sum of P8 million each to retract their statements. Teves’ camp and the lawyers representing the suspects vehemently denied these allegations.
Presently, 10 suspects who had previously cooperated with the investigation have submitted affidavits of recantation.
In a mixture of Filipino and English, Remulla said, “Yes, if I’m not mistaken, our initial report indicated that they were offered P8 million each… P8 million each was offered to the suspects to make them change their statements.”
Man up and face charges
Teves, who is currently under suspension, has been urged anew by Remulla to return home and face the multiple murder charges lodged against him.
In a chance interview, Remulla revealed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued subpoenas against Teves, compelling him to respond to the charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on behalf of the victims’ families.
Remulla stated in Filipino: “He should come home and explain himself in court or at the DOJ, not to me. He should come home, face the music. He has been saying a lot of things, so if he is brave enough, he should come here and explain to us.”
The Justice Secretary emphasized that Teves already has a subpoena, and the public should be aware that he is being summoned by the authorities to provide an explanation regarding the crimes he is being accused of.
Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon had announced that Teves and the other respondents must submit their counter-affidavits by June 13.
The charges against them include 10 counts of murder, 14 counts of frustrated murder and four counts of attempted murder.
Teves has consistently denied any involvement in Degamo’s killing and has expressed his intention to return to the Philippines once his concerns about personal safety are adequately addressed.