MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered investigators to find the 5 police officers assigned to Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo's security detail who allegedly failed to report for work on the day he was killed.
PNP Chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. called on the 5 police officers to come forward and explain their side, after Sen. JV Ejercito tweeted about their supposed absence during Degamo's assassination.
"We are calling itong 5 na personnel na sinasabi na security detail ni Gov. Degamo. Likewise we are also calling the [Provincial Director] and the regional director of [Police Regional Office-7] to enlighten us on what transpired bakit nga wala sila during that incident na nangyari iyong kay Gov. Degamo," Azurin said.
(We are calling on these 5 personnel who are said to be assigned to the security detail of Gov. Degamo, we are also calling on the provincial and regional police directors to enlighten us on what transpired, why were they missing during this incident?)
Degamo had handpicked the police escorts who were supposed to guard him, Azurin said.
"Kilala niya itong mga ito and siguro they have to explain bakit but usually kasi yung 5 na yan may rotation kasi yan. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na everyday iyong 5 na yun ay magre-report for duty but definitely it's either 2, 3," he said.
"So depende sa arrangement nila that's why we have yet to determine or sila mismo ang sasagot niyan bakit nung time ng incident," the PNP Chief added.
(He knew them and perhaps they have to explain why they were allegedly missing. But usually, there's a rotation among the 5 of them. All 5 do not report for duty every day, but definitely it's either 2, 3. That depends on their arrangement.)
Since Degamo's assassination, the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have set up checkpoints across Negros Oriental, with more troops deployed in the province to boost their law enforcement operations.
Azurin also said authorities were closing in on other suspects in Degamo's murder, adding he believes they were still in Negros Oriental and should be considered armed and dangerous.
"Definitely, we would assume that they are armed, they are dangerous. With the recovery noong mga additional firearms kasi nga ang sinasabi natin more or less they are almost 10 or more so with the recovery of 9 long firearms as of now, we presume na baka may iba pa silang armas na dala-dala (they may be carrying other weapons)," he said.
Meanwhile, investigators said they have identified the gunman killed in pursuit operations in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental on March 4.
Though they have yet to release the suspect's identity, investigators believe the suspect served as a guide and was connected to a local politician.