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Another suspect-witness in Degamo slay recants testimony

Joven Javier, another suspect in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, has recanted his testimony implicating Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. to the crime — the fifth suspect-turned-witness to do so.

In an interview, Atty on Friday. Danny Villanueva, Javier's legal counsel, said his client recanted four statements — one made on March 5 before policemen in Negros Oriental and three before the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila.

"Ang sabi niya kasi, 'yung nauna sa pulis na binabanggit doon na siya ay kasama sa mga unang ni-recruit, na kasama siya noong December 22, 2022, na nag-attempt sana na-ambushin si Governor Degamo at nung mga panahon na 'yun ay doon sila nag stay sa isang safe house malapit sa ancestral house ng mga Teves," Villanueva said.

(In his first statement, he said he was among the first recruited and was part of the December 22, 2022 attempt to ambush Governor Degamo, and that they were staying at a safe house near the ancestral house of the Teves.)

"'Yun po ang nag i-implicate kay Congressman Teves doon sa una niyang pahayag," he added.

(That is what implicated Congressman Teves.)

Teves is being linked to the March 4 assassination of Degamo and 9 others, with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla saying he appears to be the "main mastermind." He has repeatedly denied the allegation.

According to Villanueva, the NBI added the names of the other suspects in Javier's affidavit when it was previously just aliases. He said Javier agreed because an NBI agent urged him to cooperate in the probe.

Villanueva claimed Javier was also tortured by state forces in Negros Oriental and in Manila.

GMA News Online has sought comment from the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the National Bureau of Investigation, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.

Villanueva said they will also file a petition for habeas corpus for the release of Javier before the Manila Regional Trial Court. —KBK, GMA Integrated News