Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. (Neg. Or., 3rd District) on Monday, March 6, denied involvement in the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and eight others in what is now being called the Pamplona massacre.
Heavily armed men barged into the compound of Degamo in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, on Saturday and killed the governor and eight others.
Teves, who is in the United States for stem cell treatment, posted his video message on his social media account.
He extended his condolences to the “bereaved families”, saying that having lost a son and a cousin, he knows the pain of losing a loved one.
Teves and Degamo were political rivals for several years. Teves had, on several occasions, challenged Degamo to a fistfight through social media posts, to settle their political differences.
He said what happened to Degamo was his worst fear because he knew he would be blamed for it.
“If I have the means and intention to do this, I would have done this before the elections.
What is my motive to do this now? I and my brother will not benefit from this, because if the Governor is gone, it is the Vice Governor who will take his place,” Teves said.
He said there are some people who want to put the blame on him so they can become famous.
Referring to the attack on Degamo’s house, Teves said these events are scary and are not good for the progress of our District and our Province.
At the same time, he appealed to the President return to him his licenses to own firearms “for my protection”.
He said his bodyguards were recalled and he has again heard that his house will again be searched for unlicensed firearms. He promised to surrender all his firearms when he returns.
Teves also expressed surprise over the incident because the compound of Degamo is usually heavily guarded and yet, the assailants freely entered the compound without meeting any resistance.
“Even the dog knew the perpetrators because the dog wagged its tail,” Teves said.
He also expressed surprise at the rapid succession of the arrest of the suspects.
He said he hoped the same dispatch would have been applied to the unsolved murders in Negros Oriental, such as the murder of broadcaster Rex Cornelio, where the perpetrators used a car of the provincial government, and the murder of Dr. Avelex Amor.
He shared his wish to return the political scenario in the province to the time of his grandfathers, former Senator Lorenzo Teves and former Congressman Lorenzo Teves, who would still meet with their political opponents during parties or fiestas.
“Politics should just be confined to the political arena, but I hope there would be no more incidents like this,” he said.*