THE government on Wednesday dismissed as a delaying tactic a letter circulating online in which expelled congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. pleads for help from international organizations, human rights groups and even Pope Francis, claiming he is being unjustly persecuted and falsely accused of murder by the Philippine government.

"You all know the reality in the Philippines; please do not send me there. I do not want to be killed. Please save my life," Teves allegedly wrote in the letter addressed to the United Nations and Amnesty International.

Teves, wanted on multiple murder charges, is detained in Timor Leste, where he sought asylum but where he faces legal proceedings for his extradition back to the Philippines.

"While he paints himself as a victim, there are clear victims in the case of multiple murders," Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Wednesday.

Remulla said that instead of "dilly-dallying," Teves should face the charges in court.

In the letter, the ousted lawmaker claimed he is being "politically persecuted, charged with false accusations and even presumed guilty before trial."

Remulla, however, pointed out that Teves is an identified terrorist, a fugitive from justice and facing grave charges such as multiple murders.

He said all of that is a reality that Teves and his counsel, Ferdinand Topacio, should face.

"Until then, we cannot recognize anything they say unless they present themselves in court," Remulla said.

He noted that the Philippine government guaranteed protection for Teves on numerous occasions.

He chided Topacio, advising him to behave like "an officer of the court by avoiding baseless pronouncements against the state, which malign the integrity of the country's justice system."

Addressing allegations that the cases have moved forward even though some witnesses against Teves have recanted, Remulla said this was for the court to decide in a full-blown trial.

"Recantations do not necessarily weaken a case where there are other pieces of evidence that support the original statement. More so, recantations are frowned upon in our justice system," he said.

Teves is facing 10 counts of murder, 12 counts of frustrated murder and four counts of attempted murder before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 51 in relation to the March 4, 2023 shootings in the town of Pamplona in Negros Oriental.

A court in Timor Leste, where Teves applied for a protection visa with the intent of seeking asylum last year, is hearing the extradition request of the Philippine government.

2024-06-12T16:26:18Z dg43tfdfdgfd