MANILA — Another suspect in the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo retracted his statement, his lawyer said Friday.
Dani Villanueva, the counsel of Joven Javier, the 5th suspect who recanted his statement in relation to the Degamo slay, said his client withdrew his testimony "prepared on March 5, 2023, in Negros Oriental before police officers conducting the investigation" into the crime.
Javier was the latest in a string of retractions in the Degamo killing.
Four other suspects — Osmundo Rivero, Rogelio Antipolo, Rommel Pattaguan, and Dahniel Lora — also recanted their testimonies on their supposed involvement in the crime.
Lawyer Villanueva told ANC's "Dateline Philippines" that Javier was also being considered as a state witness "against those arrested by the government" and against Marvin Miranda and Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr.
"Mr. Javier was qualified as [a] state witness against others who are being pointed to as responsible for the Pamplona massacre," he said. "That is the reason why up to this time, no case has been filed against Mr. Javier."
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla previously described Miranda as the director and casting director in Degamo's killing, while Rep. Teves was supposedly the executive producer or producer.
Degamo and 9 others were killed on March 4 in Pamplona, Negros Oriental. On May 17, some 2 months after the killings, authorities filed murder complaints against Teves. Eleven suspects, including Miranda, are also facing murder charges in court.
Teves maintained that he and his clan had nothing to do with the crime. He has yet to return to the Philippines.
Remulla had also said he expected recantations after some of the suspects allegedly lawyered up and stopped cooperating.