Negros Oriental

Security heightened for Degamo family after Teves’ arrest in Timor-Leste

Erwin Delilan

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Security heightened for Degamo family after Teves’ arrest in Timor-Leste

Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo attends the senate public inquiry on the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and other political assassinations in various areas of the country, on April 17, 2023.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Police say the threat against the late Negros Oriental governor’s widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, and her family is 'still high' especially after ex-congressman Arnie Teves’ arrest in Timor-Leste

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Police stepped up security for the family of assassinated Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo following the arrest of former congressman and suspected mastermind Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. in Timor-Leste, on Thursday, March 21.

Philippine National Police-Negros Oriental director Colonel Ronan Claravall said on Sunday, March 24, that the threat against the late governor’s widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, and her family was “still high” especially after Teves’ arrest in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste.

Claravall said police would not lower their guard, especially when Teves is brought back to the Philippines to be tried for the March 4, 2023 killing of Degamo and several others during a daring broad daylight attack on the then-governor’s residential compound. Over a dozen others were hurt in the attack by a heavily armed group linked to Teves.

On Facebook, Janice said she and her family still fear for their lives a year after her husband’s assassination, citing incidents when they saw drones hovering over their residential property Barangay 9, Poblacion, Pamplona town.

She said they suspected that they were being subjected to surveillance, stopping short of naming Teves’ camp as behind it.

Claravall has assured the Degamos that their security would not be compromised even as he directed Pamplona town police chief Major Mavie Bulay-og to give the family’s safety utmost priority.

Janice called Teves’ arrest a “welcome development” in their quest for justice.

“It’s a victory for justice, for truth, for each and every NegOrense; a dream come true for us families of the Pamplona massacre victims and a big leap for our quest for justice and peace,” she said.

Janice said she wanted Teves brought back to the country the soonest to face all the criminal charges labeled against him.

“That’s what we’re expecting – to see Teves behind bars. I really want to go there and see him being put in jail,” she said.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson welcomed Teves’ arrest, saying it would give the former congressman the chance to defend himself in court.

“His arrest will give him a chance to answer and defend himself and, likewise, a lesson to ponder that he can run but cannot hide all the time,” Lacson said.

Teves, who was expelled from the House of Representatives and designated a terrorist in August 2023, was caught at the Top Golf Driving Range and Bar in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste.

The former congressman, who was placed under the International Criminal Police Organization’s red notice in February, was playing golf when agents of Interpol, Timor-Leste’s National Central Bureau (NCB), and East Timorese Police (ETP) pounced on him, according to a report from the Presidential Communications Office (PCO). –

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