By Filane Mikee Cervantes

ARRESTED. Ousted Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. and designated terrorist Arnolfo Teves Jr. is arrested at a golf driving range in Timor-Leste on March 21, 2024. The Department of Justice on Thursday (May 30, 2024) announced that the Philippine government’s request for the extradition of the ousted lawmaker has passed the first screening by Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Justice. (Screengrab from NBI)

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday announced that the Philippine government’s request for the extradition of ousted lawmaker Arnolfo Teves Jr. has passed the first screening by Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Justice.

According to DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano, the extradition request has already been endorsed to Timor-Leste’s Court of Appeals.

Preparations are on the way for the return of former Congressman Teves to the Philippines. Hinihintay pa rin po natin ang desisyon ng Court of Appeals doon sa Timor-Leste dahil po pinasa na ng Ministry of Justice ang ating request sa Court of Appeals (We are awaiting the decision of the Court of Appeals in Timor-Leste because the Ministry of Justice forwarded our request to the Court of Appeals),” Clavano said during the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing.

He said the DOJ expects to receive a decision from the Timor-Leste Court of Appeals regarding Teves’ extradition within the next few weeks.

Kailangan lang po muna natin na maghintay at maging patient sa desisyon ng Court of Appeals dahil hindi naman natin teritoryo iyan (We just have to wait and be patient with the decision of the Court of Appeals because that is not our territory). So, we will just have to abide and comply with the direction and the decision of the Court of Appeals,” he added.

Teves is fighting his deportation to the Philippines and has remained in Timor-Leste where he was arrested in March based on a red notice issued by the International Criminal Police Organization.

The former lawmaker is facing 10 counts of murder, 12 counts of frustrated murder, and four counts of attempted murder before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 51 in relation to the March 4, 2023 shootings in Pamplona town, Negros Oriental.

The trial court had issued an arrest order against him. (PNA)