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MANILA, Philippines – State prosecutors indicted suspended Negros Oriental Congressman Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. on Friday, August 11, on three counts of murder for three separate killings in 2019.
Along with Teves, persons named Hannah Mae Sumero, Richard Cuadra, Jasper Tanasan, Alex Mayagma (recently killed), and Rolando Pinili (referred to as “Inday”), and Gemuel Hobro (known as Hobro) were initially named as suspects for their alleged roles in the killings.
All but Hobro, who turned state witness, were also charged in the murders.
The killings involve the following victims:
- Miguel Dungog, a former provincial board member of Negros Oriental’s 3rd District, who was shot and killed on March 25, 2019, in front of Silliman Medical Center in Dumaguete City.
- Lester Bato, a former bodyguard of former Basay mayoralty candidate Cliff Cordova, killed on May 26, 2019, in Basay, Negros Oriental.
- Pacito Libron, an alleged hitman linked to Teves, who was shot and killed in Barangay Malabugas, Bayawan City.
These killings are unrelated to the March 4 assassination of then-Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo, who was targeted in broad daylight in Pamplona town with nine others. Gunmen injured at least 16 others that day.
“The foundation of the complaint rests upon the extrajudicial confession provided by respondent Gemuel Hobro, facilitated with the assistance of his chosen legal counsel,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement.
“Hobro’s confession implicates him as part of a group hired by Congressman Teves to carry out the aforementioned murders, shedding light on the motives driving these actions,” it added.
Prosecutors indicted Teves even as the congressman had not submitted any counter affidavits during the preliminary investigation stage.
According to the DOJ, other evidence include death certificates of the victims, affidavits from police investigators, and statements from the victims’ heirs.
“The credibility and constitutionally sound execution of Hobro’s testimony further substantiates the case. His connections to Congressman Teves and the co-respondents are firmly established through evidence, confirming the political and personal motivations behind the murders,” the DOJ said.
The indictment comes after the Philippine government designated Teves and 12 others, including his brother Pryde Henry, as terrorists.
Teves was abroad at the time of the Pamplona massacre and has refused to come home, citing safety concerns.
He continues to deny his involvement in any of the killings he is being investigated for in Negros Oriental. – Rappler.com