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Arnie Teves 'released' from Timor Leste jail — lawyer

MANILA, Philippines — 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.

Topacio sent reporters photos of Teves walking outside what appears to be Becora Prison in Dili, Timor Leste.  

"According to CRA Law Office and Dr. Jose Ximenez, there are still judicial proceedings that Rep. Teves will have to undergo relating to his continued stay in TL which will start tomorrow, and he will be present therein, together with witnesses in his favor, including former Human Rights Commissioner Wilhelm Soriano, who will be presented as an expert in human rights," Topacio said.

Sought for a response, the Department of Justice said on Monday that Teves' release “was quite improbable” and that they would clarify the matter with authorities in Timor Leste.

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