(JOURNAL NEWS) SENATOR Jose Jinggoy Estrada urged suspended Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves to surrender to the rule of law for him to be able to defend himself in the proper court.
The reaction of Estrada came after the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) made a formal pronouncement designating Teves, his brother Pryde Henry Teves and 11 others as terrorist according to Resolution No. 43 dated July 26.
“As a colleague of Rep. Teves, I implore him to submit himself to the rule of law and take this opportunity to defend himself, present evidence to clear his name, and have the charges expunged through the appropriate legal procedures. Naniniwala ako na mananaig ang katotohanan sa issue na ito kung paiiralin ang fair, transparent and impartial na legal proceedings.” Estrada said.
The embattled congressman from Negros Oriental has been tagged as the mastermind in the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo which he denied vehemently.
Estrada said it is high time that Teves faces the charges squarely if he is innocent as he claims.
“If evidence supports their involvement in such criminal activities, they should be brought to justice through a fair and impartial legal process. Like those similarly situated. Rep. Teves should be accorded the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a competent court,” Estrada said.
The senator said the pursuit of justice and accountability for acts of terrorism must be carried out with utmost respect for human rights and due process to uphold the principles of a just and democratic society.
“It is crucial to ensure that any measure taken by the government to combat terrorism do not infringe upon individuals’ fundamental rights and liberties. Striking a balance between security concerns and the protection of human rights is vital in upholding democratic values and the rule of law,” the senator added.