One of the suspects in Gov Roel Degamo’s murder killed in firefight with authorities
CEBU CITY, Philippines — One of the suspects in the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo was killed in a firefight with law enforcers in Bayawan City, Saturday night, March 4.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, the spokesperson of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG), said that the suspect remains unidentified as of this posting.
“One suspect was killed in action last night during a firefight…During the hot pursuit operations, the joint elements of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, we have located one suspect hiding in a plantation,” Pelare said in a press briefing on Sunday morning, March 5.
Pelare said the suspect fired at law enforcers which prompted them to retaliate. The incident happened at about 9 p.m. on Saturday in a mushy plantation in Barangay Cansumalig in Bayawan City.
“When he sensed that our operatives are coming his way, he shot or fired at the composite team then the composite team retaliated resulting to the death of the suspect,” Pelare said.
High Powered Firearms
About four hours later or at around 1 a.m., authorities recovered several firearms that were believed to be used during attack on Degamo outside of his home in Barangay San Isidro in Pamplona town.
Operatives from the 11th Infantry Battalion, 32 Military Intelligence Company, and PNP S.W.A.T recovered five assault rifles, 1 B40 (RPG) with five ammunition, four bandoliers fully loaded with plates, one rifle case, 2 combat uniforms, a grey sweatshirt, and 3 pairs of combat boots.
Pelare said that the hot pursuit operations against Degamo’s killers will continue.
Moreover, he said that their investigation on the killing of the Negros Oriental governor and eight others is now making progress.
The three suspects, whom they arrested on Saturday afternoon, were able to give “vital information” that will help in their ongoing investigation.
“They [the suspects] are making good revelations that led to us to our further hot pursuit operations,” Pelare said.
Information from the arrested suspects led them to the location of still unidentified suspect who was hiding in a plantation in Bayawan City.
Pelare earlier identified the three suspects as Joric Labrador, 50, an ex-army and a resident of Cagayan De Oro; Joven Aber, 42, an ex-army ranger and a resident of Barangay Robles in La Castellana, Negros Occidental, and Benjie Rodriguez, 45, a native of Mindanao.
Labrador and Aber were dishonorably discharged from services for illegal drugs charges and absence without official leave (AWOL) years back.
Pelare said they do not discount the possibility that the other suspects, who remain at large, could also be former military men.
Even the suspect who was killed in Bayawan City was wearing military boots, he said.
However, Pelare said they continue to determine the motive in Degamo’s killing. For now, they are looking all possible motives that may have led to the governor’s slay.
“[But] we believe that with the developments, with the arrest of the suspects, we will be able to file charges the soonest possible time,” he said.
Pelare express confidence that the other suspects, who remain at large, have not left Negros Island.
“We have established road blocks. All the ports are sealed so they are still ere in the province. Our teams are on the ground scattered making sure that all areas are covered,” he said.
Investigators, according to Pelare, have already coordinated with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to trace the registration of the three getaway vehicles that were found abandoned also in Barangay Cansumalig in Bayawan City.
Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) already took samples of the bloodstains that were found on these vehicles for processing.
The three arrested suspects were also made to undergo paraffin test.
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