Romualdez: Only a matter of time to catch mastermind in Degamo slay
MANILA, Philippines — House of Representatives Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is confident that the mastermind behind the killing of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo will be caught soon, saying investigators now have important leads to the case.
Romualdez, in a statement on Monday, said that authorities are working continuously to solve the murder of Degamo, who was killed inside his compound last Saturday while talking to his constituents.
“May mga importanteng leads na ang mga imbestigador kung sino ang mastermind ng krimen na ito [Our investigators now have important leads to identify who is the mastermind behind this crime]. They are working round the clock at the moment for case build-up,” the House leader said.
“Hindi magtatagal, maipapa-aresto na natin ang utak ng krimen. Pagbabayarin natin ang lahat ng responsable sa krimeng ito. Sisiguruhin ng ating mga awtoridad na mabubulok sila sa kulungan,” he added.
(Soon enough, we will have the brains of the crime arrested. We will ensure that those responsible will be held accountable. Our authorities will keep them rotting in jail.)
According to Romualdez, the administration and its law enforcement agencies do not have sacred cows to protect, noting that even those with influence would be held accountable if involved in the killing of Degamo.
“Let me reiterate the warning of President Marcos to criminals: you can run but you can’t hide,” Romualdez said.
“There will be no sacred cows in our fight against criminality. Malaking tao man o may impluwensiya, hahabulin namin kayo at papanagutin sa mga kasalanan ninyo [Whether you are big time or having influence, we will run after you and make you accountable for your crimes],” he added.
Degamo and some of his constituents were killed after several armed men barged into his home in Pamplona town, Negros Oriental. Degamo’s wife, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, said the attack was carried out quickly, at around 41 seconds.
Authorities have managed to arrest some suspects in the killings, including former Philippine Army soldiers. One of the gunmen was also neutralized.
Romualdez, who visited the wake of Degamo on Sunday, reassured residents of the province that the peace and order situation had been restored, with government posts being filled up.
“We have restored peace and order in Negros Oriental. The local government is fully functional and in control of the situation with the swearing-in of the new governor and vice-governor. The PNP, AFP, NBI and all law enforcement agencies are tasked to provide all assistance necessary for the new officials to carry out their functions,” he added.
Governor Degamo was just in the fourth month of his term before the incident happened. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed him as the winner of the gubernatorial race in Negros Oriental just last October 2022.
This was because initially, it was former Negros Oriental governor Pryde Henry Teves who was proclaimed as the winner. However, Comelec overturned it after crediting the votes for a nuisance candidate — Ruel Degamo — to the late governor.
Just this February, the Supreme Court upheld the victory of Degamo against Teves.