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Police identify one of gunmen in Degamo slay

One of the gunmen in the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has been identified.

According to a tweet of GMA News’ Chino Gaston on Wednesday, the gunman, who was killed while resisting arrest, was identified as Arnil Labradilla.

Labradilla was allegedly a former member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

In Gaston's "24 Oras" report on Wednesday, Labradilla was showing his .50 caliber sniper rifle and assault rifle with grenade launcher in the photographs that circulated on social media.

“This would somehow suggest that the group is a mixture of people who really have a skill with warfighting that is the reason we and the Joint Task Force-Negros have been employing the right mixture of troops that can readily confront the threat,” Joint Task Force-Negros spokesperson Police Major Cenon Pancito III said.

“Had we wished na walang (there was no) resistance, siguro 'yan ang gusto natin na pag ikaw ay nahuli na hands up na pero (that is what we want) in any operations we will always prepare for the worst,” he added.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo said they are currently investigating Labradilla's background.

“Yung isang suspect na patay ay na-identify po natin yan noong March 9 matapos siya ma-identify nung kanyang tatay at yung kanyang background po ay kasalukuyan nating iniimbestigahan dahil may mga narereceive tayong report regarding sa background nung tao na ito,” Fajardo said at a press briefing.

(The slain suspect was identified on March 9 by his father, and we are currently investigating his background because we are receiving reports regarding the background of this person.)

“Nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa counterparts natin sa AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) para mashare nila yung information na natatanggap nila regarding sa dito sa napatay na suspect but as far as his father is concerned wala po siyang nababanggit sa background ng kanyang anak,” she added.

(We are communicating with our counterparts in the AFP so that they can share the information they received about the suspect, but as far as his father is concerned, he did not mention anything about the background of his son.)

On March 4, Degamo and five 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, Negros Oriental.

The death toll later increased to nine.

“We have 27 victims, nine dead kasama si Governor Degamo, at mayroong 15 kasama sa kasong frustrated murder at may tatlo pong doon sa attempted murder. Maraming biktima sa insidenteng ito,” Fajardo said. 

(We have 27 victims, nine of whom are dead, including Governor Degamo; 15 of them are involved in the case of frustrated murder, and three in attempted murder. There were many victims in this incident.)

Four arrested suspects are now in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The Special Investigation Task Group Degamo said a suspect in the killing of Degamo died in an encounter with state forces in the province on March 4.

Murder and frustrated murder charges were filed last week against four suspects identified as Joric Garido Labrador, Joven Calibjo Javier, Benjie Rodriguez, Osmundo Rojas Rivero, and 12 John Does before the Tanjay City Regional Trial Court.

Charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives were also filed against three individuals before the Bayawan City Regional Trial Court.

Meanwhile, Philippine Army Commanding General Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner Jr. went to Siaton, Negros Oriental, to lay out plans for security and attended the wake of Degamo.

Brawner directed soldiers who were conducting pursuit operations to perform their duties properly. —LBG/KG/VBL, GMA Integrated News