Five or six “direct conspirators” were behind the assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Wednesday.
Remulla issued the statement as the Degamo family said it was readying a murder complaint against 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo A. Teves Jr., in connection with the governor’s killing on March 4.
During the press conference of Special Task Force Degamo, Remulla said that there are five to six people who may have played a crucial role in Degamo’s death.
“It was a planned attack which was executed with military precision by former military people,” Remulla said.
Besides, he added, the sophisticated operation would not be possible without the cooperation of many people.
“We now have in our custody 10 persons. Nine of whom participated directly in the attack against Degamo,” Remulla said.
He said the authorities are now gathering statements from the suspects about their role in the killing and he is expecting a lot of revelations that will point to the masterminds.
“We expect that the evidence will turn up already against the masterminds in a few days. We believe it would be a good time to name the masterminds after we have spoken to the nine suspects,” he said.
He said they hoped to finish questioning the suspects by Saturday.
He also said more cases will be filed in the next few days.
On March 4, Degamo and eight others were killed while several others were injured in the attack that was pulled off while the governor was distributing aid to his constituents at his residence in Pamplona.
Joric Labrador, one of the arrested suspects, identified a certain “Marvin” as the one who recruited them to conduct the assassination. He said they were told by Marvin that the order came from “Cong Teves.”
Remulla on Tuesday said that he got a text message from Teves, who is being linked to the killing. Remulla did not say what the text message said, however.
Teves, who earlier left for the United States and is now believed to be somewhere in Southeast Asia, had denied his involvement in the killing. On Tuesday, he released a video asking for fairness and claiming that he was also a “victim.”
Meanwhile, Levito D. Baligod, counsel of the Degamo family, said they are readying the documents needed in the filing of the murder complaint.
“The affidavits of the witnesses are not yet finished and the witnesses are currently in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation),” Baligod said.
At least nine suspects in the Degamo killing that also resulted in the deaths of eight other persons in Pamplona town are now in the custody of the NBI.
Remulla earlier said that one of the suspects, also a discharged soldier, is considered a “major player” in the killings with his revelations of “very critical information, including the identification of masterminds.”
“He is a major player. He has a major role in what happened,” Remulla had said.
But Remulla did not disclose the name of the “major player” nor the names of the “masterminds.”
Teves’ travel abroad was only authorized until March 9 and he has missed the deadline set for him to return to Congress.
The governor’s widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, has sought Teves’ expulsion from the House.
Earlier, five more people involved in the attack on Degamo surrendered to military officials, bringing the total suspects in custody to 10.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the suspects were later turned over to the NBI.
Abalos urged those who had a hand in the conspiracy to kill Degamo to surrender, saying that the government would protect them—and give them a fair trial.