41 seconds only: Gun attack on slain Negros Oriental governor very quick, wife says

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - Reporter / @GabrielLaluINQ - Inquirer.net | March 06,2023 - 04:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The attack on the residence of slain Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo lasted only for 41 seconds, his bereaved wife revealed on Monday.

Mayor Janice Degamo of Pamplona, Negros Oriental, said in an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Kabayan that the armed men who killed her husband last Saturday were initially stopped by the security officer outside the gates of their compound to confirm with the governor if they could be allowed inside.

Degamo said the protocol for those who wanted to talk with the late governor was to leave firearms with the security officer.  However, she said the armed men barged in after the security officer opened the gates to check who was knocking.

READ: Negros Oriental governor shot dead inside his house

“Very fast po ‘yong mga pangyayari, I think lahat nangyari in 41 seconds lang, ‘yong gwardya na nag-control ng gate, nang magcheck siya kung sino ‘yong nag-knock, tinignan niya, parang sinabihan niya na ‘sandali lang sir, itatanong ko pa kay governor kung may appointment kayo, or kung pwede kayong pumasok’ kasi meron nang naghihintay, 60 numbers ang inilabas — meaning there were 60 groups who came to see the governor for that day,” she said.

(What happened was very fast; I think it was over in 41 seconds only. The security official controlling the gate checked who was behind the gate when they knocked.  He told them to wait for a while and that he would ask the governor if more visitors could be allowed — because 60 numbers were released, meaning there were 60 groups who came to see the governor that day.)

“So parang tinulak niya sana kasi hindi niya pa pinapatuloy sila, pero parang tinulak kaagad ‘yong door para pumasok sila, parang they forced themselves in, kasi nga binuksan nang kaunti eh, tinignan kung sino ‘yong nagna-knock,” she added.

(So the security official pushed the gate because they were not allowed inside, but the armed men pushed back to enter, they forced themselves in when the gate was slightly opened when security checked who knocked on the door.)

According to Mayor Degamo, one of the assailants was wearing what appeared to be a military uniform, while the rest were in civilian clothes.  She also said that none of the vehicles were marked or bore government plates — which was why the security official asked them to wait outside.

“Kaya they were told not to go inside because he has yet to get permission from the governor if he will allow them kasi merong isa na parang naka-military ang uniform,” she said.

(That’s why they were not allowed to go inside because he has yet to get permission from the governor if he will allow them, because one of them appeared to be wearing a military uniform.)

“Hindi lahat, ‘yong iba naka-shorts lang saka naka-ano sila eh, ‘yong mga sasakyan nila na dala hindi naman vehicle ng military, kaya nga they were not accepted right away when they asked to see the governor dahil nga, parang protocol dapat ‘yon eh […] three vehicles, parang ten persons,” she added.

(Not all of them were wearing uniforms, some only wore shorts, and their cars were not from the military; that’s why they were not accepted right away when they asked to see the governor because it is part of the protocol.  Three vehicles, at least ten persons.)

Previously, authorities managed to arrest some of the suspects in the killings — which included former Philippine Army soldiers.

READ: Negros Oriental Governor Degamo’s killing: Three suspects including 2 ex-military men nabbed

As for the casualties, Degamo said one of the deceased was a father who was just asking for financial assistance after his three-year-old daughter passed away.  There were other barangay officials who were also killed in the incident.

“Ganito ‘yong nangyari po, merong namatayan ng anak na three years old, at ‘yong tatay pumunta sa amin para sana humingi ng assistance.  ‘Yong tatay niya ang namatay,” she explained.

(What happened was a father whose three-year-old daughter died went to us seeking assistance.  The father also died in the incident.)

“Merong isang barangay captain from Sta. Catalina, a nearby town, may patay; may isang barangay kagawad, husband ng aming barangay kapitan sa Yupisan, Pamplona, patay din.  ‘Yong kanyang photographer ng aking husband na nag-aassist din sa kanya, patay din.  Marami, marami sila, may driver at iba pa,” she added.

(There was a barangay captain from Sta. Catalina, a nearby town, who died; another barangay kagawad who happens to be the husband of our barangay captain from Yupisan, Pamplona, died too.  My husband’s photographer who was helping him out died also.  Many were killed, including drivers and other workers.)

Governor Degamo was just in the fourth month of his term after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) overturned the proclamation of former Negros Oriental governor Pryde Henry Teves in the May 2022 elections.

This was after the Comelec nullified the votes for a nuisance candidate “Ruel Degamo” or Grego Gaudia, in Roel Degamo’s favor.

READ: Comelec calls for calm as it invalidates win of Negros Oriental governor 

Just this February, the Supreme Court upheld the victory of Degamo.

READ: SC upholds poll victory of Negros Oriental governor


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