BY JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
The chief of the country’s PNP organization has confirmed Monday that authorities obtained a good lead which might help in the identification of the mastermind, in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo on March 4, this year.
PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr said they have gathered reliable information from the four arrested suspects that will help identify the mastermind of the planned killing of the Governor of Negros Oriental and eight others.
“The continuing investigation into the death of nine persons in Negros Oriental, including Governor Roel Degamo, has uncovered promising leads from evidence and testimonies that will establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and the identification of key players in this multiple murder case,” Azurin said.’
Barely four hours after the killing of the governor inside his residence, four of the suspects were arrested in Bayawan City after the PNP tracker team found the getaway vehicles abandoned by the suspects.
Police investigators identified the three suspects as Joven Aber, 42; Joric Labrador, 50; and
Benjie Rodriguez, 45 – all former soldiers, reports said. They were arrested by the elements of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) at around 4:25 p.m., roughly about seven hours after the killing of the governor and his men. The fourth suspect was found in separate operations, the police said.
The local police operatives seized three identification cards of the suspects, ammos and a .45 caliber pistol. The suspects, authorities reported, were cornered in Barangay Cansumalig in Bayawan City.
“The hot pursuit operations are still ongoing with the remaining suspects being pursued by joint elements of the PRO-7 and Philippine Army,” the police official said in his statement sent to the media on Saturday.
Meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos has condemned the ambush of Negros Oriental Governor
Roel Degamo which had caused his untimely demise.
This, as the president of the republic has also vowed to bring justice to the bereaved family of the governor, alongside four of his aides who were also killed by their attackers Saturday at the governor’s residence.
Police investigators said the governor was declared by Comelec as the rightful winner for the province’s gubernatorial seat following a recount proceeding by the Commission on Elections.
His rival, report said, was proclaimed winner right after the counting of ballots in May 2022 national and local elections, but the camp of Degamo reportedly contested the result and requested a recount.
ATTACKS ON POLITICIANS
Last month, Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong, Jr of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao was also ambushed by unknown attackers while traversing a secluded area in barangay Delimbayan, Maguing town.
Although the governor survived the ambush, BUT three of his police escorts and the driver
of a convoy vehicle were killed in the ambush.
Also in February, Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda of Aparri and five of his people were shot dead during a highway ambush.
A mayor of Datu Montawal in Maguindanao was also ambushed along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City last February 22, this year, but the mayor cheated death.