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‘Mastermind’ in Degamo slay nabbed by NBI, says Remulla

An alleged mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla announced Friday.

Remulla said the case is 99% solved.

“The NBI was able to catch a main player, a main player. A name we have not discussed, we have never discussed here. But practically, I would say in my reading of the situation one of the masterminds was caught today,” Remulla said in an ambush interview.

Remulla, however, refused to disclose further information about the mastermind, repeatedly saying that details will be shared on Monday.

“I’m just telling you that there’s a breakthrough, it’s 99% solved. The Degamo case is 99% solved,” Remulla said.

The Justice secretary said this was the individual authorities were looking for right from the start after he figured in the statements of other suspects in custody.

“We wanted him from Day One to be part of it, to be among the suspects to be caught and we were able to focus on that. And I congratulate the NBI for a job well done,” Remulla said.

“He figures in the statements made by the other suspects in custody already. It drives a thread through everything. The thread has been properly moving in,” he added.

Remulla said has fled Negros Oriental.

“Tumakas na siya. Malayo na siya sa Negros Oriental and for the last three weeks we were on his trail already. Everyday tinatanong ko, anong balita, anong balita, and finally, today,” he said.

He said the individual did not resist arrest and was read his rights

Remulla said the authorities must still find out if there were more masterminds. 

“That’s why we’re not leaping to any conclusions now. But we know that we have caught the right people already, the people that have to be caught, that we were wishing would get caught, or the person that we wanted to get caught,” Remulla said.

‘In the middle of everything’

When asked how suspended Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves fits into everything, Remulla said Teves fit "right in there.”

He adds that Teves fits “in the middle of everything.”

GMA News Online has sought comment from the Teves' camp but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.

GMA News Online has sought comment from the Teves' camp but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.

Remulla shared that Teves' brother, former Negros Oriental Governor Henry Pryde Teves, has also submitted a waiver of confidentiality to the DOJ.

In his waiver, Pryde Henry waived his rights over his secrecy of bank deposits and communication logs.

“And accordingly authorize the Secretary of the Department of Justice, or his duly authorized representatives, to inquire into my bank deposit accounts with any bank/s, and to access all phone records, call logs, and messages, including those in my email, which might aide the concerned authorities in the performance of their present tasks/ duties,” he said.

Degamo and eight others were killed while several others were injured after an attack at the governor's home in Negros Oriental on March 4 while he was distributing aid to his constituents.

Teves is being linked to the crime after suspects in the killing pointed to a certain “Cong. Teves” as the one who ordered the hit.

The lawmaker, who refuses to return to the country due to fears for his safety,  earlier denied involvement in the killing of Degamo. He also appealed for authorities' "fairness" and for investigators to look at all angles in Degamo's killing.

Meanwhile, he said the politics in the province plays a major part in the motive behind the killing.

“I think for the people who know the politics in Negros Oriental, it plays a major part in the motive itself,” he said.

Meanwhile, when asked about additional items recovered from the compound allegedly owned by Henry Pryde Teves, Remulla said the items will be evaluated.

“Ie-evaluate yan for ballistics and we will be asking the NBI to coordinate with the suspects in identifying the weapons because that’s the way it is,” he said.

“We’ll have to present a good case in court about this. So i think that everything is now tied up together, properly,” he added. —NB, GMA Integrated News