Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, the wife of slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, on Friday claimed that up to 30 people had been killed by the camp of recently-suspended Congressman Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr.
In an interview on ANC, Mayor Degamo said the lawmaker’s camp would “do something bad” to people who refuse to transfer their political loyalty.
“‘Yung iba namamatay talaga (some really died),” Mayor Degamo said.
“Siguro yung mga kilala ko almost 30 more or less, eh. More or less. Maglalaro ‘yan sa 20 to 30 people eh,” she later added.
(Of those I know, there are almost 30, more or less. More or less it is around 20 to 30 people.)
She doubled down on her remark when asked to clarify whether between 20 to 30 people in the province had been killed by the representative's camp, saying, “yes, that is true. Yes.”
Mayor Degamo also believes they have an “airtight case” against the congressman.
“We were told, because we have visited already the DOJ, the DILG, we visited the NBI, there are information there that I have learned that have given us hope that talagang we will have an airtight solid case against Teves,” Mayor Degamo said.
In a message to GMA News Online, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Teves’ legal counsel, said he refused to dignify the allegations.
"I refuse to dignify such atrocious allegations. Baka puyat lang si Mayor. Why bring that up only now? Why not file cases in court?" he said.
The late Governor Degamo and eight others were killed while others were injured after an attack at the governor’s home on March 4.
Teves is being linked to the killing after suspects in the assassination pointed to a certain “Cong. Teves” as the one who ordered the hit.
Teves, for his part, has said that he and his brother are not involved. He also went live on Facebook earlier this week claiming he is also a 'victim' and appealed for fairness from authorities.
Meanwhile, Mayor Degamo said she and her husband have previously requested a Senate investigation on the matter.
“Try to back check po at inano natin, i-folllow up natin yan. Lalong-lalo na because there are PNP officers involved in some of those atrocities,” she said.
GMA News Online has sought comment from the Philippine National Police but has yet to receive a response.
Meanwhile, according to Mayor Degamo, an inquiry will allow witnesses to share their testimonies without fear.
“Walang matatakot na mag salita kasi tatakutin ka lang eh... But in the Senate meron kang parliamentary immunity kaya doon mo maririnig yung mga iyak na hindi makalabas kasi natatakot,” she said.
(They will not be afraid because of threats. There's parliamentary immunity at the Senate where witnesses can freely say what they want.)
In her separate petition to expel Teves addressed to Speaker Martin Romualdez of the House of Representatives, Mayor Degamo said the evidence against Teves are already enough for him to be kicked out of Congress.
“In the midst of our deep sorrow and grief, my family and the people of Negros Oriental are seeking justice for the said senseless killing... Considering that the pieces of evidence obtained from the ongoing investigation linking Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves, Jr. Member of the House of Representatives, 19th Congress, as the apparent “mastermind” thereof,” Mayor Degamo said.
She also accused Teves of being involved in illegal gambling, having a private army, and using high-ranking police officials as protectors.
Mayor Degamo, meanwhile, extended her gratitude to the House of Representatives after it unanimously slapped a 60-day suspension on Teves after the lawmaker refused to go home after his trip from the U.S. citing "grave security threats."
“Binigyan nila ng pansin ‘yung mga nakikita at naririnig nila ngayon. More so if they listen to the testimony of the witnesses na naging biktima ng pangaabuso ng mga taong ito,” Mayor Degamo said.
(They listened to what's being seen and heard. More so if they will hear the testimonies of the witnesses who are victims of abuse from these people.)
Both Senate and the DOJ have yet to comment on Mayor Degamo's accusations after being reached out by GMA News Online. —Joahna Lei Casilao with reports from Llanesca Panti/ VAL, GMA Integrated News