May 22, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Detained suspect in Degamo killing recants, cries coercion

By Justine Rich Talusan

ONE of the detained suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo formally recanted his previous statements given to investigators. 

According to attorney Harold Montalbo, counsel for suspect Osmundo Rivero, they filed yesterday a counter-affidavit and an affidavit of recantation before a panel of Justice Department prosecutors.

“We went to the DOJ today (Monday) for a panel interview with the prosecutors because we filed Mr. Osmundo Rivero’s counter-affidavit. We also had him swear an affidavit of recantation, wherein he recants his earlier statements,” Montalbo said.

Montalbo said his client recanted three of his previous statements, all of which have already been submitted to the courts. 

“He has practically withdrawn almost everything he stated before because as mentioned earlier, he submitted three statements to the court. Now, he is retracting all of them,” Montalbo said.

Rivero, along with suspects Joric Garido Labrador, Joven Calibjo Javier, and Benjie Rodriguez, surrendered to authorities, while their six accomplices were arrested.

During the early stages of the investigation, the suspects waived their right to file counter-affidavits before the panel of prosecutors handling the cases.

“Mr. Osmundo Rivero is now recanting all his statements stating that he was involved as one of the suspects in the killing, one of the planners, and one of the accomplices, along with our three other clients in our law firm,”  the lawyer said.

Rivero also claimed that police investigators coerced him to implicate suspended Congressman Arnulfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. in the Degamo murder.

“It is not true that I know someone named Marvin. It is also untrue that I pointed out the photo of Congressman Teves when four photos were shown to me, because I don’t know him and I have never seen him before,” Rivero’s counter-affidavit said. 

“It is also untrue that I am aware of any plans to kill Gov. Degamo, and it is also untrue that I am familiar with the firearms and attire used, as I have never used or seen them,” Rivero added.

Degamo was meeting with beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) at his residence in Pamplona town when killed on March 4, along with nine other civilians.