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Suspects say ‘Cong Teves’ ordered hit on Degamo

Two suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo named a certain “Cong Teves” as the person behind the fatal attack against the local official.

According to John Consulta’s report on “24 Oras” on Thursday, suspects Joric Labrador and Benjie Rodriguez were initially offered to work for VIP security but later assigned to join the group tasked to kill Degamo. Both suspects said they were told the governor is a drug lord.

Degamo and five others were shot dead in broad daylight while he was distributing aid to his constituents at his residence in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on Saturday. Several others were critically wounded in the attack, and the following day that death toll had climbed to nine.

Asked on how they identified the supposed mastermind, Labrador said: “Tinanong ko yung safe house namin at lupa, Teves daw”.  

Asked anew if they personally met Teves, they replied in the negative.

Labrador added, "Ang alam kong nag-recruit sa amin ay si Marvin," and when asked who gave the orders to Marvin, he said, "Si cong daw sir...Teves sir."

The incumbent congressman in Negros Oriental is Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves. His brother, former Bayawan City Mayor Pryde Henry Teves, also served as a representative before running against Degamo in the 2022 elections.

The former mayor was initially proclaimed winner but was stripped off his post after the Commission of Elections and the Supreme Court upheld Degamo's victory.

The National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice said they need to validate the allegations and all names mentioned in the case will be investigated.

GMA Integrated News reached out to the camps of the former mayor and Rep. Teves, whom the House Secretary-General Office’s said has a travel clearance for a personal trip abroad from February 28 until March 9, for their respective comments.

“We call on all concerned to observe sobriety in their pronouncement regarding the allegations against Rep. Arnie Teves in the face of certain accusations against him in connection with the killing of Governor Roel Degamo and several other persons,” Ferdinand Topacio, legal counsel of the legislator, said.

Task force

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier in the day said he is seeing a "pattern of impunity" in Negros Oriental following Degamo's killing.

"What comes out is a pattern. It's a pattern of impunity that we did not sense before. It is something that is so new to us," said Remulla, who visited Degamo's wake on Wednesday evening along with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos.

Marcos has ordered the creation of an inter-agency task force to look into the Negros killings and to resolve the cases.

The task force will be composed of the Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos will lead the body.—Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA Integrated News