President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (left) with slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo (Photo from PBBM’s official Facebook)
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday vowed justice for the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
Marcos condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the attack, which local authorities said happened at about 9:40 a.m. right inside Degamo’s residence in Pamplona town.
Initial reports said about 10 men got off separate vehicles and barged into the compound, where the governor was in the middle of a meeting with some of his constituents who are beneficiaries of the poverty alleviation measure Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
“My government will not rest until we have brought the perpetrators of this dastardly and heinous crime to justice,” Marcos posted on Twitter. “I am warning all those involved in this killing: You can run but you cannot hide. We will find you. If you surrender now, it will be your best option.”
The President said the investigation into Degamo’s murder case is “developing rapidly,” adding that the government has gathered substantial information against the possible suspects.
“We have received much information and now have a clear direction on how to proceed to bring to justice those behind this killing,” he said.
Five other bystanders also died after sustaining gunshot wounds, the governor’s wife, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, confirmed in a Facebook live video.
“The governor does not deserve that kind of death,” she said. “There were five others who died with him, who were there to ask for help.”
Vice President Sara Duterte likewise denounced the killing of her “political ally” and “dear friend.”
“His death is a tragedy to the province of Negros Oriental, and I am one with the grieving people of the province, his friends, and his family,” Duterte said in a statement. “Authorities must immediately probe this cowardly, evil act and bring the perpetrators to justice and pay for their crime, especially the brains behind it.”
Duterte suggested that authorities “start looking at the political feud that has gripped Negros Oriental and has taken so many lives, not just of Gov. Degamo.”
Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., in another statement, said he has already ordered the Philippine National Police to conduct a pursuit operation against the assassins.
It was only on Feb. 14 when the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the petitions questioning the result of the gubernatorial race between Degamo and Pryde Henry Teves.
The high tribunal upheld the win of Degamo and junked the petitions filed by Teves and Grego “Ruel” Degamo against the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“The Court found that the Commission on Elections en banc did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing its Resolution in SPA No. 21-085 (DC) dated September 1, 2022, in favor of Roel Degamo,” the SC said.
The Comelec en banc affirmed the resolution of the Second Division, which ruled Ruel Degamo as a nuisance candidate and annulled Teves’ proclamation as the provincial governor.
The votes obtained by Ruel Degamo were credited in favor of Roel Degamo.
The final recount showed Roel Degamo got 331,726 votes while Teves had 301,319.
Teves relinquished his post in October last year after the SC did not grant his motion for a temporary restraining order.
The SC echoed Comelec’s observation that it was only for the May 9, 2022 elections that Grego Degamo used “Ruel” as a nickname. (PNA)