MANILA — There were two prior attempts to assassinate Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo — one using a rocket-propelled grenade and another through a sniper — before he was eventually killed by armed men inside his residence in Pamplona, on March 4.
New details about Degamo’s assassination plot were revealed in the Department of Justice panel of prosecutors’ resolution dated April 4, 2023, a copy of which was shown to ABS-CBN News.
The resolution indicted Marvin Miranda, one of the alleged masterminds in Degamo’s killing, for 9 counts of murder, 13 counts of frustrated murder and 4 counts of attempted murder.
One of the suspects, Rogelio Antipolo, Jr., was quoted in the resolution detailing all that he knew regarding the killing, in a Sinumpaang Salaysay (sworn statement) dated March 20.
After identifying Miranda as the former bagman of Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Antipolo claimed he met Miranda in an old house of Teves’ father in Bayawan, Negros Oriental sometime in October 2022, along with two other suspects — Winrich Isturis and Dahniel Lora.
He had, by then, agreed to join a “project” which he would later discover to be Degamo’s assassination, the resolution said.
In December 2022, Miranda and Lora allegedly went to Mindanao using Teves’ helicopter to purchase RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) and other explosives.
The first attempt to kill Degamo supposedly happened on December 23, 2022 when Joven Javier and Lora planned on firing the RPG at Degamo but “it did not materialize.”
The resolution said Teves allegedly called Miranda, who reasoned out that “the mission was aborted due to lack of manpower.”
Three more men were recruited — Eulogio Gonyon, Jr., John Louie Gonyon and Romel Pattaguan.
The second attempt was on February 14, 2023, during a “kasalang bayan” or mass wedding. A sniper was to kill Degamo but the resolution said “the same did not materialize” but did not explain why.
Miranda allegedly again reported to Teves, according to Antipolo’s statement cited in the resolution.
After 2 failed attempts, 3 more men were recruited on March 2 — Bengie Rodriguez, Jovic Labrador and Osmundo Rojas Rivero.
It was Miranda, according to Antipolo, who distributed firearms, ammunition, vests, and magazines as well as an advance payment of P20,000.
Miranda supposedly arrived at the safehouse with his brother, said to be the “close-in security of Cong. Teves.”
The group finally managed to kill Degamo on March 4 but 4 of the suspects were immediately arrested — Labrador, Javier, Rodriguez and Rivero — while a fifth suspect was reportedly killed, identified in news reports as Arnil Labradilla.
Antipolo, himself, surrendered on March 18 while the 5 others surrendered on March 21.
Miranda was arrested in Antique on March 31.
Labrador, Javier, Rodriguez, Rivero and Antipolo, according to the resolution, identified Miranda as one of the persons who “planned the assassination” of Degamo, with the 4 suspects corroborating Antipolo’s claim that it was Miranda who gave them firearms and the instruction to kill Degamo.
This was used by the prosecutors to indict Miranda.
“In fact, respondent Miranda participated not only in the execution proper but also in the planning stage of the evil purpose. Thus, he should be considered as a principal and should be held liable to the same extent as his co-conspirators,” the resolution said.
The resolution was signed by assistant state prosecutors Benny Nicdao, Mary Grace Bathan-Barcelona and Honey Rose Delgado.
Not mentioned in the resolution was Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla’s previous claim that Miranda allegedly escaped using a helicopter bearing the slogan “Teves cares.”
Remulla said last Wednesday that the task force will meet on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, to discuss more cases that may be filed against Miranda and Teves, as well as who among the accused may qualify as state witness.
It was Remulla who earlier identified Miranda as Teves’ alleged co-mastermind, with Teves supposedly acting as executive producer or producer while Miranda allegedly served as director and casting director in Degamo’s killing.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to Teves’ lawyer, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, who said that he needed to secure a copy first of the resolution to be able to “give an intelligent comment.”