DOJ sees 3 to 4 masterminds who conspired to kill Gov. Degamo
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday said they are currently looking at three to four masterminds conspiring to kill Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo. Still, he refused to confirm whether Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. is included.
He said, “we are investigating anybody with possible culpability. We would not exempt anybody.”
The SITG Degamo, the task group investigating the governor’s killing, said the name of Teves, being the mastermind, was part of the Task Group’s investigation results.
“We think three to four masterminds are conspiring [to kill Gov. Degamo],” Remulla told reporters.
Two of the four arrested suspects reportedly mentioned Teves as the mastermind.
Remulla said he has yet to read the statements of the witnesses, but if the witnesses have identified possible masterminds, the investigation and filing of cases will move faster.
“Malamang i-file namin ang kaso ng mas mabilis pag may mga ganyan ng balita sapagkat nangangailangan na magkaron ng kalinawan ang mga ganitong pangyayari,” Remulla said.
(The filing of cases would move fast if there were these kinds of information that would shed light on what happened.)
Remulla said Congress no longer allowed Teves to extend his stay abroad.
“Pinauuwi na sya kung talagang haharap sya sa mga ganitong usapin na sya ay tinuturo na maaring kasabwat sa mga nangyayaring karumal-dumal sa Negros Oriental,” Remulla said.
(He is asked to return home to face the controversy where he is being tagged in what is happening in Negros Oriental.)
Teves was also earlier tagged in three 2019 killings in Negros Oriental. A complaint for three counts of murder was already filed before the Department of Justice.
Meanwhile, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Teves’ lead counsel, cautions “all concerned” to observe sobriety in making statements regarding the killing of Degamo and eight others.
“It will not serve the ends of justice any by publicly obfuscating the issues prematurely before a thorough investigation in accordance with procedures provided for by law. Verily, justice can only be done to the victims if and when the real perpetrators are brought before the bar of justice and convicted with finality. In the meantime, all must be mindful of the fact that our Supreme Court itself has already said that accusation is not synonymous with guilt, and the Constitution guarantees to every person the presumption of innocence,” Topacio said in a statement.
“We shall face any and all accusations consistent with the courses outlined in the legal system, confident that, in the end, our client will be exonerated,” he added.
The authorities already have four suspects in the Degamo killing: Joric Garido Labrador, Joven Calibjo Aber, Benjie Rodriguez, and Osmundo Rojas Rivero.