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Opinion

Where did Degamo’s security detail go?

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

“To quit my post only when properly relieved”- Military General Order No.5

The members of the security detail of murdered Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, who were absent on the day he was killed, are in serious trouble. Two tough questions confront them, namely: 1.) Whether their absence was valid, and 2.) If so, whether they had replacements or relievers.

The investigators must get to the bottom of these questions.

For one reason or another, we sometimes are absent from our work. If a loved one passes away, we are excused from going to work. If we get sick, sometimes the company requires us to produce a medical certificate.

Sometimes, we are away from work because we are on our well-deserved vacation leave. At any rate, we or the management see that we have proper relievers so that the operation will not be affected.

We have yet to know the reasons behind the absence of the security detail and whether they had replacements.

Every police officer or army member knows you must leave your post with a reliever. Every security guard also knows this. It is elementary and engraved in the 11 military general orders. It is because lives and property are at stake. And in the case of Governor Degamo it was his life.

Was it a coincidence that five out of the six police officers who were his security details were absent on the day the governor was brutally murdered? Or was it a deliberate move on their part? Were they on rotation such that there were days that they were not required to report? But we will go back to why the five of them had to be absent.

Their absence must have encouraged the perpetrators because they did not expect a fierce firefight. They walked into the compound to carry out their evil plan with impunity. They walked away with ease. Were it not for the order of the national government to go after them to the ends of the earth, they would not have been captured.

It is also difficult to imagine that the five just agreed that they would not report for duty. Therefore, who ordered them to do so? Were they also in fear for their lives that’s why they followed the order if such an order existed? The evil plot may go all the way up, but we don’t know yet up to which particular point or whose heads must roll when the smoke eventually gets clearer. Crime does not pay.

Despite the presence of many good men in the police force, there have been many times in the past when policemen were involved in brutal killings, such as during the Maguindanao massacre, where many journalists were killed. But involvement is not always physical. Failure or active refusal to carry out one’s duty will also have consequences.

The security detail involved must come forward and tell their story.

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ROEL DEGAMO

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