By Benjamin Pulta

Former Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – A Manila court has granted the government’s request to cancel the passport of embattled former Negros Oriental Rep. Arnulfo Teves Jr., the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Friday.

In a statement, the DOJ said it has received the order from the Manila Regional Court (RTC) Branch 51 dated Feb. 8, for the immediate cancellation of the passport of Teves, who is facing multiple murder charges and has been declared a fugitive from justice in connection with his alleged involvement in the killing of former Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

In compliance with the court’s order, the Department of Foreign Affairs was directed to cancel Teves’ passport while the National Bureau of Investigation was instructed to take appropriate measures to facilitate the return of the accused to the country.

Teves remains at large and last reported to be in East Timor.

The court cited that while the Constitution guarantees the right to travel, “this right is not absolute and may be subjected to restrictions as dictated by the law”.

It also noted that the severity of the charges against Teves and his designation as a terrorist by the Anti-Terrorism Council justifies the cancellation of his travel documents.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, meanwhile, reiterated the government’s commitment to uphold the rule of law and ensure that all individuals, regardless of their status, are held accountable for their actions.

“The pursuit of justice remains steadfast and unyielding. We will not allow individuals charged with heinous crimes to evade the legal process. This is a clear message that our society demands accountability, and we shall leave no stone unturned to bring alleged perpetrators to book. Our resolve to create a just and fair Philippine society for all is stronger than ever,” Remulla said. (PNA)