By Filane Mikee Cervantes

Department of Justice spokesperson Mico Clavano (PNA file photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – Expelled Negros Oriental congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. is expected to be extradited to the Philippines late July despite his plan to appeal before the Timor-Leste courts, an official of the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Saturday.

DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano said Teves’ camp has 30 days to contest the decision of the Court of Appeals of Timor-Leste.

“So if they exhaust the 30 days, which we anticipate they will do, then it will be after the filing, we will see kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng [Timor-Leste] Court of Appeals (the decision of the Court of Appeals). Around the last week of July, makikita na natin si Ginoong Teves dito sa Pilipinas (we will see Mr. Teves back in the Philippines),” Clavano said at the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

Clavano said the Philippine government secured victory in the extradition case because Teves’ arguments were unfounded, particularly his assertions that he would face the supposed death penalty in the Philippines and that the country has unfavorable human rights conditions.

“We do not have a death penalty here in the Philippines. We also have had certain reforms and efforts in human rights, protection of human rights,” Clavano explained.

He believed the court would affirm its decision once the motion for reconsideration is filed by Teves’ camp.

“I think it’s high time that they face the cases of multiple murders in the Philippines,” Clavano said.

Teves’ legal counsel, Ferdinand Topacio, earlier said that the extradition decision is “still appealable” and a “recourse that we intend to take.”

“Then we still have the option of political asylum,” Topacio said.

Teves 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 connection with the March 4, 2023 shootings in Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

He fled to Dili and applied for political asylum.

In March, he was arrested at a golf driving range.

Early this month, he was released from Becora Prison but was re-arrested and transferred to the Polícia Nacional of Timor-Leste.

In August last year, the Anti-Terrorism Council designated Teves and his younger brother, former Negros Oriental governor Pryde Henry Teves, as terrorists over their alleged involvement in several murder incidents and harassment in the province in the past years when they were still in public office.

Pryde Henry was likewise arrested in Barangay Taclobo, Dumaguete City on June 20 over his alleged involvement in terrorism activities. He posted bail of PHP600,000. (PNA)