Negros Oriental Gov. Degamo killed in armed attack at home

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2023 01:27 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2023 03:41 PM

Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo was shot dead inside his home. Photo courtesy of the PNP.
Police cordon off the the home of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo in Barangay San Isidro, Sto. Nuebe in Pamplona after he was shot by still unknown assailants Saturday morning. The shooting comes more than two weeks since the Supreme Court upheld the Commission on Elections' resolution recognizing Degamo as the winner of the 2022 Negros Oriental gubernatorial race.  Photo courtesy of the PNP

DUMAGUETE CITY (UPDATED) — Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo was killed in an armed attack inside his private compound in Barangay San Isidro, Pamplona town Saturday morning, two local officials close to him confirmed.

Degamo was pronounced dead on arrival at a private hospital near this city a little over an hour after the attack, his close ally Siaton Mayor Fritz Diaz told reporters.

Diaz also said that other local officials were hurt in the attack and were receiving medical treatment as of writing: Provincial Health Officer Liland Estacion and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Marlo Quilnet.

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His wife, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, said in a video statement that 5 others died with the governor in the attack, but did not give more details.

"Governor Degamo did not deserve that kind of death... As the family of Roel, we hope that the national government will be serious in searching for justice for my husband. Give the governor the justice he deserves," the mayor said in Cebuano.

Police earlier said the shooting incident happened past 9:30 a.m. at the governor's residence in Barangay San Isidro, Sto. Nuebe in Pamplona town.

"Gov. Degamo was entertaining 4Ps beneficiaries at the entrance of his residence when suddenly a group of persons wearing pixelized uniform and in full battle gear shot the Governor several times hitting the latter and some civilians," said P/LtCol. Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of the Region VII police.

The suspects immediately fled the scene aboard sports utility vehicles (SUV). 

Three of these getaway vehicles were later found in Barangay Kansumalig in southern Bayawan City, the regional police said in a statement.

Ten suspects were seen fleeing from the scene and were being pursued by joint security forces, it added.

Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. earlier said he has ordered a hot pursuit operation to track down the gunmen.

"Naka-deploy na ang mga puwersa ng Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office pati na ang mga kapulisan sa karatig na probinsya para galugarin ang bawat sulok ng lugar para agad na madakip ang mga kriminal," he said.

"Asahan ninyo na hindi kami titigil hanggang hindi nareresolba ang kasong ito, gayundin ang iba pang insidente ng pananambang na nangyari sa mga nakalipas na araw. We will quickly get to the bottom of this," Abalos added.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who Degamo endorsed in the May 2022 elections, also said he condemned the governor's killing. 

"The investigation into this murder is developing rapidly. We have received much information and now have a clear direction on how to proceed to bring to justice those behind this killing," Marcos said in a Facebook post.

"I am warning all those involved in this killing: you can run but you cannot hide. We will find you. If you surrender now it will be your best option," he added.

With Degamo's death, his ally Vice Governor Guido Reyes is expected to assume as Negros Oriental's chief executive. But as of writing, he has yet to give a statement on the matter.

Saturday's violence is the latest attack on local officials. 

It also came more than two weeks since the Supreme Court upheld the Commission on Elections' resolution recognizing Degamo as the winner of the 2022 Negros Oriental gubernatorial race. 

The high court junked former Gov. Pryde Henry Teves' petition against the poll body on the gubernatorial dispute that resulted in a standoff at the Negros Oriental provincial capitol in Dumaguete City last October.

Degamo had been in power as Negros Oriental's chief executive for more than a decade, having first assumed office in 2011 following the successive deaths of former governors Emilio Macias II and Agustin Perdices.

—with reports from Job Manahan and Annie Perez, ABS-CBN News