MANILA — A weeping Pamplona, Negros Oriental Mayor Janice Degamo on Monday met for the first time the alleged gunmen who supposedly killed her husband Gov. Roel Degamo.
Degamo's lawyer Levito Baligod said the widow faced the suspects in her husband's assassination during the Department of Justice's (DOJ) preliminary investigation on the crime.
“Humagulgol siya kanina during the proceedings dahil siyempre naaalala niya ang nangyari, namatayan siya ng asawa, at nakita naman niyang ayaw na mag-file ng counter-affidavit iyong respondents dahil technically ay inaamin nila na involved sila sa nangyaring patayan,” Baligod said.
(She was crying during the proceedings because she remembered what happened. She lost her husband, and she saw how the respondents were adamant in not filing counter-affidavits because technically, they have admitted involvement in her husband's killing.)
After the hearing, Degamo said she was inching closer to attaining justice for her husband and 8 other victims who died in the March 4 bloodbath.
“Malapit na po iyan, we are almost there. Hintay na lang tayo for resolution,” Degamo said.
(We are close enough; we are almost there. We are just waiting for a resolution.)
The justice department previously said Degamo's political rival, suspended lawmaker Arnolfo Teves Jr., was considered one of the possible masterminds in the assassination. Teves, who remains abroad, has maintained that he and his clan had nothing to do with the killing.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla last week said Teves could be designated as a terrorist over his refusal to return home due to alleged threats to his life.
Remulla on Monday said 3 to 5 more people who "played pivotal roles" in the assassination plot against Gov. Degamo could be tagged as terrorists.
Marvin Miranda, a former Army reservist who had served as Teves' bodyguard, was among those the DOJ was eyeing to tag as terrorists.
Miranda was previously labeled as an alleged co-mastermind in the Degamo slay.
“They played pivotal roles in the plots that ensued.... Remember Gov. Degamo was a governor of the province, the highest elected local government official and for that to be done to him took a lot of gumption and that actually, that act alone instilled fear in most people in Negros Oriental,” Remulla said.
The Anti-Terrorism Council is set to meet soon on the proposal to label Teves as a terrorist, he added.
Meanwhile, the justice secretary also said authorities were still recovering Teves' helicopter that was allegedly used to transport the gunmen in the Degamo killing away from Negros Oriental.
Remulla said the chopper could also give them another reason to further link Teves into the governor's assassination.
Meanwhile, the preliminary investigation for the illegal possession of firearms complaints against Teves' two sons Kurt Matthew and Axel was also held at the DOJ headquarters in Manila on Monday.
Andres Manuel, legal counsel of Teves' sons, said their camp submitted additional documents to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
"Binibigyan kami ng pagkakataong pag-aralan, repasuhin, timbangin kung ano ang nararapat naming ipasa sa panel sa susunod na hearing,” he said.
(We have been given the chance to study, revise, and weigh which documents we need to submit to the panel for the next hearing.)