Another suspect, tagged as main player in the killing of Degamo, surrenders

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 12:10 p.m.) — One more suspect in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo — said to be a "main player" who also has crucial information on the case — has surrendered to authorities, the task force investigating the brazen incident said Monday.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr., chief of the task force, said Monday that the suspect will be turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation.

“We understand that the suspect has vital and critical information that we hope will pave for the resolution of this case the soonest possible time,” Abalos said.

Gen. Andres Centino, armed forces chief of staff, also said the suspect, named by those who have already been arrested, surrendered to AFP personnel in Negros Oriental on Friday, March 17. 

While the officials have refused to disclose more information on the suspect who recently arrested, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said he is a “discharged soldier” who is a main participant in the killing.

Remulla added that the suspect corroborates information investigators have and knows other people who are involved. 

Alleged Teves link unclear

Asked if the suspect named Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. (Negros Oriental) as mastermind of the crime, who was tagged by those earlier arrested, Remulla said: "There are circumstances that lead you to the conclusion that he was perhaps involved in the crime, but the specifics of that, we cannot tell you now."

Despite expiration of his travel clearance on March 9, Teves has yet to return to the Philippines, prompting the government to track the whereabouts of the lawmaker.

Teves has raised concerns on his and his family’s safety in refusing to return to the Philippines, but authorities have said that the police are ready to provide security for him. He also denied involved in the brazen killings.

Abalos noted that as investigation into Degamo’s killing is underway, authorities have implemented 10 search warrants including on properties owned and controlled by Rep. Teves or his associates.

The search warrants were an offshoot of the Philippine National Police’s investigation into the murder of three people in Dumaguete City in 2019, where Teves is tagged as a respondent in a pending criminal complaint before the DOJ.

Aside from these the lawmaker is set to undergo preliminary investigation into the two separate sets of illegal possession of firearms and of explosives he is also facing. The second set is one where his two sons are also named as respondents.

Complaints filed, case buildup ongoing

So far, there are 30 complaints filed in relation to killing of the provincial governor and in the case of 26 other victims. These are:

• nine murder complaints
• 15 frustrated murder complaints
• three attempted murder complaints
• one illegal possession of firearms raps
• two for illegal possession of explosives raps

Abalos said authorities are still in pursuit of 12 more unidentified persons tagged in the killings.





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