By Marita Moaje

Former Negros Oriental congressman Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday confirmed that the Court of Appeals of Timor-Leste granted the Philippines’ extradition request against former congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr.

“The Department of Justice confirms the grant of the extradition request made by the Philippine government. The information was relayed to us by the Attorney-General of Timor -Leste. We have won,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“We look forward to the arrival of Mr. Teves so that he may finally face the charges against him in our local courts,” it added.

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 relation to the March 4, 2023 shootings in Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

Degamo’s widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, said she experienced “overwhelming emotions” after learning that Teves will be returned to the Philippines.

“My fight for justice has been a truly harrowing experience, with constant threats on my life by members of the Teves Terrorist Group, horrific online attacks from TTG trolls and continual sleepless nights grieving the memory of Roel,” she posted on Facebook. “But it was the memory of Roel and his undying love for his fellow NegOrenses that keeps pushing me to fight. I will not be silent as the men who murdered my husband continue to terrorize our province.”

Teves fled to Dili, Timor-Leste and applied for political asylum.

Last March, he was arrested while playing golf.

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 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. (With a report from Marita Moaje/PNA)