DOJ: Degamo slay case suspects transferred to Manila, willing to cooperate in probe
MANILA, Philippines — All suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others have expressed willingness to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Tuesday.
The four suspects were transported to Metro Manila for security purposes – the two who had already executed their affidavits were transferred to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), as they were being evaluated for admission to the Witness Protection Program, while the other two were taken to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center.
“Upon the instruction of Justice Secretary Remulla and DILG Secretary Abalos, the two respondents who previously expressed their intention to cooperate were immediately turned over to the NBI’s custody for protective custody and further investigation,” the DOJ said in a statement.
“The remaining two were left in the custody of the PNP. However, early this afternoon, the remaining two respondents likewise expressed their intention to cooperate. Thus, the PNP and NBI have agreed to the turnover of the remaining two respondents,” it added.
Authorities have identified the four suspects as Joric Garido Labrador, Joven Calibjo Aber, Benjie Rodriguez, and Osmundo Rojas Rivero.
“The specific motive of the murder has yet to be confirmed as the DILG and DOJ will exert every effort to see all the factors at play in this incident,” the DOJ added.
Safety of residents
Meanwhile, Central Visayas-based Special Investigation Task Group spokesperson Lt. Col. Gerard Ace Pelare assured residents of Bayawan City and its neighboring towns that they would keep them safe.
“We have a maximum police presence in Bayawan City and other neighboring towns. We have PNP PRO-7 (Police Regional Office) and counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We assure them that they are safe,” he said.
Degamo and eight provincial staff and constituents were killed while 16 others, including three provincial officials, were wounded in a gun attack inside the governor’s residence in Pamplona town on Saturday, March 4.
Hours after the assault, joint forces of the Philippine National Police and Philippine Army arrested five suspects as they immediately launched pursuit operations.