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Arnie Teves 're-arrested' after procedural 'release' — DOJ

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 7:58 p.m.) — Expelled congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. has been freed from preventive detention at a jail in Timor Leste, according to a statement by his legal counsel on Monday.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio told reporters that the former Negros Oriental representative was released from preventive detention pending his extradition trial due to missteps in the Philippine government's request to extradite him.

Department of Justice spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said Teves' release and "re-arrest" was part of the Timor-Leste government's process and called Topacio's statement as "misleading, highly irresponsible and an insult" to the Philippines and Timor-Leste.

"The release and subsequent re-arrest (sic) of the former congressman from prison to the Polícia Nacional of Timor Leste is part of the country's process. The Department was able to submit all requirements ahead of time and in a manner fully compliant with Timor Leste's law," Clavano said.

"His release and subsequent re-arrest should not be taken as hindrance to the process but simply a part of it. We appreciate the steps currently being undertaken by the Timor Leste government to remove him from their territory and we eagerly anticipate his return to the Philippines so he can face the multiple murder charges," the DOJ official added.

The DOJ has been asked to clarify what part of Timor-Leste's processes involve the "release and re-arrest" of a person. will update this report with their response.

Teves is facing multiple criminal charges related to the attack that led to the death of former Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo in March 2023. 

The embattled lawmaker is also facing several other charges related to a series of killings in 2019.

Teves was arrested in East Timor while playing golf at the Top Golf Driving Range and Bar in March. — With reports from Ian Laqui