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Teves camp to push case before UNHRC

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Arnolfo Teves Jr. justified its potential decision to present his case before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

In an interview with GMA’s Unang Balita on Tuesday, Teves’ lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said that the alleged “pattern of persecution” of the expelled lawmaker can be brought to the UNHRC.

“Ang ating bansa ay signatory doon sa UN Declaration of Human Rights, and under international law...ang isang indibidwal as opposed to states ay subject na rin po sa international law,” Topacio said.

(Our country is a signatory to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and under international individual, as opposed to states, is also subject to international law.)

Teves, who was included in the Interpol’s red list in February, was arrested on Thursday last week in Dili, Timor-Leste while playing golf.

On March 23, Topacio said that the lawmaker’s detention had been extended for 15 days maximum or “the for the possible duration of the trial.”

RELATED: Teves eyeing political asylum in Timor-Leste

Teves' camp is also exploring the option of seeking political asylum in Timor-Leste, despite a previous denial.

In a message with reporters on Monday, Department of Justice Spokesman Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said that the government does not “recognize or acknowledge” any camp that refuses to go through the Philippine justice system.

“The brutal crimes happened here in the Philippines. The families of the victims are here in the Philippines. So, we want justice to be served here in the Philippines,” Clavano’s message read.

But when asked if the Philippine government can be compelled by the UN to take action, Topacio said that the international body is “persuasive.”

“Sapagkat tayo nga po ay member-state, pwede po mag-exert ng moral suasion at diplomatic pressure. Pero ang mahalaga po rito ay maipakita po natin na talagang merong violation of human rights,” Topacio said in the GMA news interview. 

(As a member-state, we can exert moral suasion and diplomatic pressure. But what is important here is to demonstrate that there is indeed a violation of human rights.)

On March 4, 2023, Teves was implicated as the alleged