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Counsel of alleged middleman in Degamo slay claims being blocked from meeting client

Former Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo, the legal counsel of the alleged middleman in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, said he was being prevented from meeting his client.

In a Sunday “24 Oras Weekend” report, Orceo said he went to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to meet with purported middleman Marvin Miranda, but the lawyer was allegedly told that his client was undergoing a secret process.

Orceo is now looking into the legal procedures he could take, while the NBI has yet to comment on the matter.

For his part, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said authorities were close to apprehending the mastermind of the slay, following two search operations during which evidence was gathered.

Among the evidence collected were guns and grenades, photos of Degamo and his family, his residence and the Degamo compound, house routes, and a sketch plan of the building believed to be used by the accomplices.

“In light of these recent developments, the Special Task Force Degamo is very confident that we are nearing the end of unmasking the masterminds behind the shocking and gruesome murder of Gov. Degamo and others,” Abalos was quoted as saying in a separate press release.

He has also called on the mastermind and accomplices to come forward, as the evidence was pointing to their identities.

“Alam ko na alam mo kung sino ka. Sumuko ka na. Lahat ng mga ebidensyang ito, nakita naman natin sa mga nakaraang araw. Habang tumatagal, ang dami na. Alam mo kung sino ka. Sumuko ka na,” he said.

“Sa ibang hindi pa sumusuko, iba ang utak ng tao na ‘to, baka kayo ang isunod nito. Iba ito, he is very, very devious and evil. Lahat ng kasamaan nasa kanya na,” he added.

(I know you know who you are. Surrender now. As we saw in the evidence collected in the past few days, it piles up as time passes. You know who you are. Surrender now.

For those who have yet to surrender, this man has a different mind, you might be next. He is different, he is very, very devious and evil. All kinds of evil are in him.)

Degamo and five others were killed in a shooting on March 4. The death toll went up to nine the following day, while 13 others were reported to have been seriously injured.

Three suspects were apprehended during a hot pursuit operation in Bayawan City on March 4, with another suspect killed in an alleged encounter with authorities in the province. Another suspect was arrested on March 5.

The Philippine Army has since deployed more soldiers in Negros Oriental to secure parts of the province as operatives continue to pursue the killers in the Degamo slay. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/DVM, GMA Integrated News