Roel Degamo

Philippines to ask Interpol for ‘blue notice’ vs suspects in Degamo slay

Jairo Bolledo

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Philippines to ask Interpol for ‘blue notice’ vs suspects in Degamo slay

BURIAL. Family and supporters attend the burial of slain Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo at Siaton Town on March 16, 2023.

Francis Pabiana/Rappler

Justice Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano says this is in line with the 'further precautions' being undertaken by the government in relation to the case

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will ask the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to issue a blue notice against the suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said during a media forum on Saturday, March 18, that this is in line with the “further precautions” being taken by the government in relation to the case.

So all those [cases] that are in relation to the Degamo slay, we have taken concrete steps na maglabas po ng international lookout bulletin. Pinagpag-usapan po natin ang paglagay ng mga tao sa blue list, sa Interpol ‘no – blue notice,”

(So all those that are in relation to the Degamo slay, we have taken concrete steps to issue an international lookout bulletin. We talked about including certain people in the blue list, in the Interpol’s blue notice.)

Interpol notices are international requests that seek cooperation to allow police forces in member states to share crime-related information. Upon the request of a country, the Interpol’s general secretariat may issue the said notice. Blue notice means a country and/or countries seek to have additional information about a person in relation to an investigation.

The justice spokesperson added the notice and the lookout bulletin will allow the government to monitor the movements of the people tagged in the slay. It will specifically provide the government records of these people’s travel dates and other relevant details, Clavano added.

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Clavano also noted that the authorities are now investigating over 10 individuals who may be involved in the killing.

Lumalabas po sa mga statements na mayroon po tayong parang layering na tinatawag ‘no. So mayroon po tayong mga gunmen, mga directly involved po doon sa assassination bilang driver, lookout – iyong mga ganoon. Tapos meron ho tayong handler or parang middleman ‘no na tinatawag. So ito iyong nagsisilbing parang layer of security doon sa ating mastermind,” the official explained.

(The statements indicate that there is what we call layering in this crime. So we have gunmen, people who are directly involved in the assassination after serving as drivers, people who served as lookouts. Then we have handlers or middleman. So this serves like a layer of security for the mastermind.)

On March 4, Degamo was gunned down in Pamplona town while attending an aid distribution event. Hours after he was slain, authorities nabbed the suspects – including former members of the military – in Bayawan City. The suspects are now facing charges in relation to the death of Degamo and eight others.

On Arnie Teves

During the Saturday forum, Clavano said Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves “is one of those that we are suspecting to be the mastermind behind the Degamo slay.” He said, however, that “everyone has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”

The suspects behind Degamo’s killing claimed that a certain “Congressman Teves” is the brains behind the attack. Shortly after the governor’s death, Teves issued a statement stressing that his clan does not benefit from Degamo’s death.

On March 7, the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed multiple murder complaints against Teves over three killings in Negros Oriental in 2019. Following the raid at some of the lawmaker’s properties in Negros Oriental, complaints for alleged possession of firearms and explosives have been lodged against Teves, his sons, and companions.

Clavano said on Saturday that one of the illegal possession of firearms complaint against Teves had been junked. But the DOJ spokesperson added that Teves still faces at least eight other complaints.

The Negros Oriental lawmaker, who is overseas for medical treatment, has yet to return to the country even though his travel authority had already expired on March 9. Teves recently wrote to Speaker Martin Romualdez to request a two-month leave of absence from the House, citing security concerns. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.