MANILA — Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves on Monday hit back at those who allegedly want to pin him down for the death of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo over the weekend as he maintained he had nothing to gain from the killing.
In a Facebook video message, Teves said he had long expected and feared that Degamo might be killed. The lawmaker said he was breaking his silence after learning he could supposedly be tagged in the killing by a party he did not name.
"Ngayon, napag-alaman ko na merong ibang mga tao diyan na gusto akong idiin. Ang iba nito siguro gusto lang umepal, gusto magpasikat para sa sarili nilang kapakanan. Wala po akong pinapataaman pero alam niyo kung sino kayo," Teves said.
(I learned that some people there want to pin it on me. Some just want attention and show off for their own benefit. I am not alluding to anyone, but you know who you are.)
Teves pointed out neither he nor his brother would gain from Degamo's death.
"Kung may balak man ako o kakayahan na gawin ito, tandaan niyo kung may balak man ako o kakayahan na gawin ito, di sana ginawa ko na ito bago pa mag eleksyon. Anong motibo ko ngayon gagawin? Hindi rin magiging benepisyaryo ako at ang kapatid ko," Rep. Teves said.
"Dahil kung mawala ang gubernador, ang uupo naman ang vice governor. Hindi naman ang kapatid ko na talagang nanalo noong eleksyon pero di ko alam anong magic na nangyari na pinababa sa pwesto ang aking kapatid," he continued.
(If I had a plan or capability to do this, I should have done it before the elections. What is my motive to do this now? My brother and I will not benefit. If the governor is gone, the vice governor will replace him, not my brother who really won in the election, but was unseated through some magic.)
Degamo unseated Henry Teves as Negros Oriental governor months after the May 2022 elections after the Commission on Elections nullified the latter's victory.
The boll body granted Degamo's petition to declare his almost-namesake Ruel Degamo as a nuisance candidate and have the latter's votes credited to him. The gubernatorial dispute resulted in a standoff at the Negros Oriental provincial capitol in Dumaguete City last October.
Rep. Teves does not think civilians were behind Degamo's killing. He insinuated that the victim could have known the killers, who he said appeared familiar to the dogs at the crime scene.
The lawmaker also had misgivings about the accuracy of the investigation.
"Ngayon, nakapagtaka, kung bakit ang ibang kaso nakapatagal tagal ang usad sabay ito pagkabilis bilis na kaagad may mga nahuli daw na mga suspect. Hindi ako nagdedepensa o nagsasabi na hindi ito yung mga suspect pero sa akin lang sobrang galing naman sobrang bilis, sabay pag ibang tao sobrang tagal bakit ganun," Teves said.
"At sa galing nung nakita ko sa video hindi ako maniniwala na ganun ganun lang kabilis mahuli yung ganung klaseng mga tao. Hayop sa galing parang pansine," he added.
(It's puzzling why the progress on other cases is so slow, while this is so quick, suspects have already been arrested. I am not saying these are not the suspects, but for me, it seems too quick. And given how skillful the attackers were in the video, I don't believe that people like them would be arrested that easily. It's like a movie.)
Teves also appealed to authorities to restore his firearms license.
"Nakakatakot ang ganitong mga pangyayari kaya ako nananawagan sa ating magaling at mabait na presidente sir, Mr. President BBM, umaapela ako paki sabihan yung tao niyo na ipabalik na ang aking lisensiya ng baril para sa aking proteksyon at proteksyon ng aking pamilya," he said.
(Incidents like these are frightening. That's why I am appealing to our dear president, please tell your people to give back my firearms license for my protection and the protection of my family.)
Teves said he feared for his own safety, noting that he was also stripped off his bodyguard.
Teves also explained why it took him this long to talk, saying he had come from a medical treatment.
"Na-delay lang ito ng konti dahil nasa abroad din ako dahil overdue na ang aking pagpapagamot ng aming pagpapalagay ng aking stem cell ang doktor ko ay hindi bumalik so kailangan ko siya puntahan," he said.
(This was delayed for a bit because I was abroad. My stem cell treatment was overdue.)
Teves decried the spate of unsolved political killings. He also condoled with the Degamos.
"Ito po si Kuya Arnie, nakikiramay sa pamilya ng namatayan dahil masakit mamatayan ng kapamilya. Kailan lang binaril ang aking pinsan at hanggang ngayon unresolved pa ang issue. Sa totoo lang yung pinsan ko na yun pinsan din yun ng asawa ni Cong. Paolo Duterte... Di pa nareresolve kung sino talaga ang totoong suspect doon at ewan kung may gumalaw na ganito kagrabeng galaw para mahuli ang suspect sa pagpatay ng aking pinsan," Teves said.
(I am condoling with the family of the slain. Just recently my cousin was shot and the issue is still unresolved. My cousin is also the cousin of Cong. Paolo Duterte's wife. I don't know if someone will move like they did for this case to resolve my cousin's killing.)
For his part, House Speaker Martin Romualdez maintained that peace and order has been restored in the province.
"May mga importanteng leads na ang mga imbestigador kung sino ang mastermind ng krimen na ito. They are working round the clock at the moment for case build-up," he said.
(Our investigators already have leads on who is the mastermind.)
"Let me reiterate the warning of President Marcos to criminals: you can run but you can’t hide. There will be no sacred cows in our fight against criminality. Malaking tao man o may impluwensiya, hahabulin namin kayo at papanagutin sa mga kasalanan ninyo," he added.
(No matter how influential, we will go after you and hold you liable.)