DOJ indicts alleged mastermind in Degamo slay

By GISELLE OMBAY,GMA Integrated News

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday that it would file charges against Marvin Miranda, an alleged mastermind in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, for nine counts of murder, 13 counts of frustrated murder, and four counts of attempted murder.

In a statement, the DOJ said that the indictment was based on the disclosures given by certain Antipolo, Javier, Rodriguez, Labrador, and Rivero in their respective extra-judicial confessions that “Miranda played an indispensable part in the planning of the assassination of the governor.”

“The state prosecutors found that Miranda conspired in the commission of the crimes and recommended his indictment, together with Accused Antipolo, Isturis, Javier, Pattaguan, E. Gonyon, and JL. Gonyon, who were previously charged in court,” the agency said.

“In effect, the state prosecutors would be amending the informations previously filed in court to include Miranda as one of the accused,” it added.

Miranda was arrested in a hot pursuit operation on March 27 in Barangay Madlad in Barbaza, Antique where he was allegedly hiding. He was identified as the former bagman of  suspended Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr.

Miranda underwent inquest proceedings at the DOJ on Monday afternoon.

The DOJ said the following cases, handled by the state prosecutors, are to be tried jointly with previous cases filed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Negros Oriental against accused Joric Labrador, Joven Javier, Banjie Rodriguez, and Osmundo Roias Rivero:

  • Nine (9) counts of Murder for the killing of Governor Roel Degamo y Ragay, Jessie Bot-Ay y Soreno, Jose Marie Ramirez y Salma, Jomar Canseco y Villanueva, Crispin Vallega, Jr. y Futalan, Florenda Quinikito y Lovitaña, Joseph Retada y Singgit, Michael Gidan Fabugais y Tabaranza, and Jerome Maquiling y Cimara;
  • Thirteen (13) counts of Frustrated Murder for the victims who sustained fatal injuries, namely: Liland Zoila B. Estacion, Gerald T. Malunes, David Toryan Cortez, Fredelino E. Café, Jr., Chyrell E. Garpen, Rosa Emelia Banquerigo, Vickmar Rayoso y Gaudiano, Maxben June Torremocha y Cabildo, Niki D. Espinas, Pedro W. Flores, Jr., Sgt. Edmar Sayon, Raymond V. Baro, and Edwarrymn T. Alavaren, and;
  • Four (4) counts of Attempted Murder for the victims who sustained non-fatal injuries, namely: Rodelio Ragay Quinikito, Mario Mendanio Quilnet, Kris Arnold T. Lester, and Diomedes Omatang.

According to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, Miranda was “one of the masterminds of the assassination of Governor Degamo” and was the “missing piece that will tie up all loose ends of the case.”

Remulla even likened Miranda as a “director or casting director” of the movie, while Teves was an “executive producer,” appearing to be the main mastermind


in the killing of Degamo.

“The case is 99% finished. Following the arrest of Marvin Miranda, I can tell you that it is only a matter of time before we can put this to bed,” the Justice Secretary said.

Next steps

In an ambush interview on Wednesday, Remulla said that the DOJ will look into other possible cases that can be filed against the suspects in the Degamo slay.

“Meron kaming magiging meeting pagbalik ng opisina sa [we will have a meeting on] Tuesday about the possible cases that can be filed further. We have to consider all factors when we go into that…meeting, what the best cases will be filed,” he said.

He said they are still searching for one or two more people who could also be possible masterminds.

“Kailangan talagang pag-usapan lahat ‘yan. Tsaka ngayon lang talaga kumpleto na ang cast eh. Everybody has been accounted for. [All of that really needs to be discussed. Besides, the cast is really complete now.] Save perhaps for one or two people who we are still looking as possible masterminds,” Remulla added.

As for Teves, Justice spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said Wednesday that the DOJ will file charges against him "very soon" as there's strong evidence linking the lawmaker to Degamo’s murder.

Teves has denied that he and his brother, former Negros Oriental Governor Pryde Henry Teves, are involved in the killing.

His camp said he has yet to return to the Philippines due to concerns about his safety and security.

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and five others were killed on March 4 when armed men fired shots while he was distributing aid to beneficiaries at his residence in Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

The death toll increased to nine the following day. Thirteen were seriously injured while four others were treated as outpatients. —KG, GMA Integrated News