PNP assures probe in Degamo widow's claim linking Teves to murders

Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2023 01:59 PM

The remains of slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo are laid to rest in their family mausoleum in Brgy. Bonawon in Siaton, Negros Oriental on March 16, 2023. Degamo was killed along with 8 others in an armed attack last March 4 at his private compound in Pamplona that investigators say is politically motivated. Photo courtesy Roi Lomotan, PIA
The remains of slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo are laid to rest in their family mausoleum in Brgy. Bonawon in Siaton, Negros Oriental on March 16, 2023. Degamo was killed along with 8 others in an armed attack last March 4 at his private compound in Pamplona that investigators say is politically motivated. Photo courtesy Roi Lomotan, PIA

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday assured it will investigate the claim of the widow of slain Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo linking lawmaker Arnolfo Teves Jr. to dozens of killings in the province.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said authorities have actually been receiving information over the supposed spate of murders in Negros Oriental.

“Marami po tayo ngayon na nare-receive na information. At base po dito sa ating backtracking ay may mga shooting incidents at mga killings, particularly diyan nga po sa Negros Oriental na inaalam natin ngayon,” she said.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) earlier filed multiple counts of murder complaint against Teves over the killing of former Negros Oriental Board Member Miguel Dungog and 2 others in 2019.

Fajardo appealed to those who have knowledge in other killings to coordinate with police.

“Umaapela rin po tayo sa ating mga kababayan na meron pong mga information regarding dito sa mga sinasabi pong mga pagpatay at kasama na rin po diyan doon sa sa mga impormasyon na ibinibigay nga po ni Mayor Janice Degamo po ay we will appreciate it po at makakaasa po kayo na lahat po itong mga kaso na ito ay iimbestigahan po ng Philippine National Police,” she said.

Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, widow of the slain governor, accused Teves as being involved to the death of some 20 to 30 individuals in the province.

“They do something bad to these people who refuse them…’yung iba namamatay talaga…more or less, maglalaro ‘yan sa 20 to 30 people eh,” she told ANC on Friday. 

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Teves’ legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio urged Mrs. Degamo to prove her claim.

“Sila ang mag-prove…the burden of proof is on he who asserts, not on he who denies. I-prove nila,” Topacio said.

*RAID AT HENRY TEVES’ PROPERTY*

Meanwhile, CIDG legal officer Col. Thomas Valmonte on Saturday said authorities also discovered 207 pieces fired bullets of different calibers during a raid on the sugar mill belonging to former Negros Oriental Governor Pryde Teves, brother of Congressman Teves, in Sta. Catalina town in Negros Oriental.

This is apart from the recovered high-powered firearms and ammunition earlier reported during the operation on Friday.

Valmonte said the empty bullet shells will be subjected to testing to look if these were used in killings.

“Baka po i-subject namin for ballistic…or kung ano man ang appropriate testing para doon sa mga empty shells para ma-compare sa mga ibang killings. Baka ‘yung baril ay [nagamit] sa ibang killings, not necessarily sa mga killings dito sa Negros,” he told ABS-CBN News.

Pryde Teves, who is the president of the sugar mill, will also be held criminally liable over the supposed illegal weapons, according to Valmonte.

“Since based on the documents, siya po ang may control over the sugar mill. So, kasama rin po siya sa respondents,” he said.

Teves’ business compound was raided by virtue of a search warrant order due to alleged violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act.

“Meron po tayong isang impormante na lumapit sa PNP at nagsasabi na ito nga pong compound na ito ay dito itinatago at meron pong pag-iingat na mga high-powered firearms na makikita dito po sa loob,” Fajardo said.

Among other recovered were 6 pieces of rifles, 9 pieces of pistols, 9,615 rounds of live ammunition, 45 pieces of steel and plastic magazines, and assorted accessories of different caliber of firearms.

“Definitely, hindi licensed [ang mga baril],” Valmonte said. “Initially kasi meron kaming mga coordination with the FEO so merong mga baril doon na alam namin walang license, ‘yung iba may license pero expired.”

Operatives also discovered P18.9 million bills in different denominations, several identification and ATM cards and documents.

“Baka i-subject namin siya (the money) sa kung anong investigation ang appropriate. We are thinking na i-refer namin siya sa Anti-Money Laundering Council,” Valmonte said.

Three individuals at the area were held under police custody.

Henry was unseated as governor by Degamo months after the May 2022 elections after the Commission on Elections nullified the latter's victory.

Degamo was killed in an armed attack inside his private compound in Pamplona town earlier this month.

Rep. Teves earlier denied his clan's involvement in the killing of Degamo.