MANILA - The Philippine Army on Sunday confirmed that 3 of the suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo were former soldiers who were discharged from service several years ago.
The first of the three suspects was a former sergeant who was part of an elite unit.
He was dismissed from service in January 2018 after he “went amok” while with other troops and after several absences without leave.
The second suspect was also a former sergeant.
He was discharged from the Army in March 2014 after he was involved in illegal drugs, and also after several absences without leave.
The third suspect was a former corporal who was removed from the military in July 2009 after “misbehavior before the enemy” or an offense which involves the abandonment of posts or comrades or disobedience to commanders in the presence of enemies or attacks.
“Basically, these ex-soldiers were not able to meet these particular standards and they are in violation of some of the articles of war and have been tried in the military justice system,” Philippine Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad told ABS-CBN News.
Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff and retired General Dionisio Santiago noted that it was obvious from security footage that meticulous planning was involved in the attack against the Negros Oriental governor.
“Alam na nila ang gagawin nila pagpasok. Hindi nila gagawin 'yan na wala silang preparation, walang surveillance,” Santiago told ABS-CBN News in a separate interview.
“Alam nila sino babanatan. May assignment na 'yan… So kung paano pumuwesto 'yung security, alam na nila 'yan,” he said.
There are several soldiers who allegedly become hitmen after being dismissed from services, the former AFP chief said.
“Kung dismissed walang pension 'yan so 'yun ang problema. Kung walang pension 'yan at walang trabaho, napakadaling i-entice 'yan,” he said.
“Kasi dito ang problema natin, ang mga uniformed ay nakakabili ka e,” he said.
“Pagkatapos 'yung dismissal, baka hindi nila ibinalik 'yung ibang gear nila. Minsan may problema kaming ganiyan sa paghabool ng mga nawawalang sundalo, minsan pati ang baril, hindi natin malaman kung saan galing ang mga baril… hindi natin malaman kung itinakbo na ang mga baril, hindi na ibinalik,” he added.
Authorities are still chasing several other suspects and are still searching for the mastermind behind the Degamo’s murder.