One of the suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and eight others has surrendered to authorities, Special Task Force Degamo head and Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos confirmed on Monday.
“We welcome the report of the surrender of at least one of the other suspects,” said Abalos at a joint press conference.
According to him, the suspect is now under the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and will be turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation.
Abalos said the suspect has vital information on the case.
AFP chief General Andres Centino said the suspect, whose name was provided by another suspect earlier arrested, turned himself in to military personnel in Negros Oriental on Friday.
“Over the weekend, we brought him here in Manila,” he said at the press conference.
According to DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, the suspect, who is a discharged soldier, was one of the main players and direct participants in the killing.
“Ngayon yung mga sinasabi niya, number 1, corroborates with previous statements given to us; number 2, he knows other people who were involved, kaya alam natin yung extent ng network (that is why we know the extent of the network),” he said.
Remulla said they are still looking for around four to eight people involved in the killing.
Meanwhile, in an interview on Dobol B TV, Special Joint Task Force Negros spokesperson Major Cenon Pancito III said Monday that six suspects are now accounted for.
“Out of the 10 na na-identify natin based doon sa CCTV footage ay six na po ang ating na-account,” he told Dobol B TV.
(Out of the 10 suspects we identified in the CCTV footage, six are already accounted for.)
“Yung isa po doon ay namatay, yung 5 po ay nahuli natin o nakikipagtulungan na sa gobyerno. Apat na lang ang ating hinahanap,” he added.
(One of them died, five were arrested and cooperating with the government. We are now only looking for four suspects.)
On March 4, three suspects identified as Joric Garido Labrador, Joven Calibjo Javier, and Benjie Rodriguez were arrested during a hot pursuit operation in Bayawan City. Another suspect identifed as Arnil Labradilla died in an encounter with authorities.
On March 5, another suspect identified as Osmundo Rojas Rivero was also arrested.
Degamo and eight others were killed by armed men while the governor was distributing aid to his constituents on March 4.
On Sunday, Degamo's widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, filed a petition appealing to Congress to have Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. dismissed as a member of the House of Representatives after two suspects linked a 'Cong Teves' in the killing of the governor.
Teves has yet to return to the Philippines from his trip to the U.S. and has already asked House leadership to extend his leave for two months due to 'grave security threats'. House Speaker Martin Romualdez, meanwhile, urged Teves to reconsider his decision not to return to the country.
Teves has denied any involvement in the Degamo killing. —VAL, GMA Integrated News