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Lawyer says Teves’ deportation mere balderdash

MANILA, Philippines — “Unadulterated balderdash.”

This was how lawyer Ferdinand Topacio thus described the plan of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to bring back expelled Negros Oriental representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. to the country through deportation or extradition.

In a statement released Saturday night, Topacio said he could declare this after meeting with Teves’ legal counsel in Timor-Leste and having a better grasp of Timorese laws applicable to Teves’ case.

“I am now able to say with greater confidence that all that previous talk from the NBI and the DOJ of deportation and swift repatriation are nothing but pure and unadulterated balderdash,” Topacio said.

He also said that other legal remedies, including seeking political asylum or non-rendition, are “still very much on the table contrary to claims of Philippine authorities.”

The Timorese constitution “is very strict on due process of law and the same will be applied unconditionally to Rep. Teves,” he added.

A day after Teves was arrested in East Timor last week, DOJ spokesman Mico Clavano said Teves would be returned to the Philippines through extradition or deportation, whichever is the “most feasible, quick and effective.”

During his visit to the country and after his talk with “several ranking officials” of the Timor-Leste government, Topacio said he learned that the action of NBI Director Medardo Lemos quoting Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos Horta was “not well received by many (Timorese) official and non-governmental quarters.”

“(They told me) any statements attributable to President Horta should have been released to the media through the media office of the Office of the President of Timor-Leste for ‘more accurate reference and contextual placement,’ and not through a press briefing by an official of the Philippine government, which is considered a ‘breach of protocol’,” he pointed out.

In an NBI statement released last week, Horta was quoted as saying he “communicated his earnest desire for the immediate resolution of the case and emphasized the importance of expeditiously removing Teves from Timor-Leste.”

Aside from this, Topacio said that certain