June 15, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

DOJ eyes 2 Degamo slay suspects as state witnesses

By Justine Rich Talusan

THE Department of Justice yesterday said it is studying the possibility of putting two suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo under the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).

According to Justice Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Mico Clavano, the DOJ is currently assessing the suspects’ statements to determine if they qualify to become state witnesses.

“We are currently evaluating the statements of the two respondents in the murder case of Gov. Degamo to assess if they qualify for WPP admission,” Clavano said.

He said the DOJ is interested in the suspects’ admission into the WPP because they were very cooperative during the investigation.

“We suggested that they be admitted into the WPP because they were cooperative, and they feel that they will be more protected in the program. However, admission will depend on the evaluation of their statements by the WPP,”Clavano said.

Degamo and eight others were killed in a daylight attack in his home in Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

The governor was meeting beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) when shot by heavily-armed suspects wearing camouflage uniforms.

The gunmen fled after the attack.

Police and military conducted hot pursuit operations and arrested three individuals, including two former military members.

The arrested suspects were identified as Joric Labrador, a former Philippine Army personnel from Cagayan de Oro; Joven Aber, a former Philippine Army ranger from La Castellana, Negros Occidental; and Benjie Rodriguez from Mindanao.

Degamo was killed 19 days after the Supreme Court declared him the winner in the hotly-contested gubernatorial race in his province.