Negros killings

‘We will find you’: Marcos warns killers of Governor Degamo they will pay for ‘dastardly crime’

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‘We will find you’: Marcos warns killers of Governor Degamo they will pay for ‘dastardly crime’

INVESTIGATE KILLING. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. poses fora photograph with former Negros Oriental Governor Roel Ragay Degamo on October 5, 2022.

Malacañang Photo

(3rd UPDATE) Meanwhile, Vice President Sara Duterte suggests that investigators ‘start looking at the political feud that has gripped Negros Oriental and has taken so many lives, not just of Governo Degamo’

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday, March 4, warned “all those involved in [the] killing” of Negros Oriental Roel Degamo that his government “will not rest” until they are made to pay for the crime. 

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the assassination of a sitting governor,” Marcos said in a statement. “My government will not rest until we have brought the perpetrators of this dastardly and heinous crime to justice.”

In about a couple of hours after the President’s statement, the Department of Justice announced that Secretary Boying Remulla had put up a P50-million reward to anyone who could provide information that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the killing.

Degamo was killed Saturday morning by heavily armed men who barged into an aid distribution activity outside his residential compound in Pamplona town, Negros Oriental. 

Marcos said the investigation into the incident had developed quickly, and authorities already gathered “much information and now have a clear direction on how to proceed to bring to justice those behind this killing.”

The President continued: “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.”

Political feuds in Negros Oriental

Vice President Sara Duterte, who called Degamo “more than a political ally [but] a dear friend,” also condemned the ‘cowardly, evil act,” and asked authorities to make the killers, “especially the brains behind” the killing, “pay for their crime.

“Authorities must start looking at the political feud that has gripped Negros Oriental and has taken so many lives, not just of Governor Degamo,” the Vice President said in a statement

Degamo appeared to have initially lost his reelection bid as governor in May 2022, after a nuisance candidate meant to be confused with him ate into his vote.

The Commission on Elections, however, eventually credited the nuisance candidate’s votes to Degamo, causing the latter to dislodge the false winner, Henry Teves, who was already serving at the capitol. The Supreme Court upheld the Comelec ruling in favor of Degamo less than a month ago.

Degamo had also opposed efforts to create the Negros Island Region, carving Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental from Central Visayas and Western Visayas, respectively.

Degamo’s fellow provincial governors, various leagues of local government officials across the country, and other elected officials in the Negros Island condemned the killing. (READ: Fellow governors, Negros leaders condemn Degamo murder, ‘deplorable attacks’ on local officials)

Lawmakers call for justice

Senate President Migz Zubiri decried the “horrible” incident, and expressed alarm over the series of attacks on local officials in recent weeks. He said the killers should “rot in jail.”

“Grabe kaayo ang na tabo sa akong amigo na si Gov. Degamo! (What happened to my friend, Gov. Degamo, was horrible!)” Zubiri said.

“I strongly condemn this dastardly act of violence. This is especially alarming, coming so soon after the ambush of Gov. Mamintal Adiong, not to mention the recent ambush on Mayor Ohto Montawal of Maguindanao del Sur, and the killing of Vice Mayor Rommel Almeda in Cagayan,” he said.

Senator JV Ejercito said “there is no room for complacency” among law enforcers to make sure the perpetrators are brough to justice.

“His death, which proceeds from a spate of ruthless killings against local officials, points to a growing culture of violence and impunity, one that threatens not only the safety of our local government units and the general public, but also the stability of our government at large. How can our officials and their constituents go on with their lives amidst this worsening climate of fear and distrust?” he said.

“Violence has no place in a democratic society and such acts can only be perpetrated by cowards and hooligans. Should these attacks go unchecked, we risk emboldening other malicious individuals and groups out there in spreading their evil deeds and inciting chaos and terror in our communities. Our law enforcers should be on top of the situation and bring those responsible for these killings to justice. There should be no room for complacency here,” said Ejercito.

House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez called on law enforcement agencies and the military to “get to the bottom of this crime and root out the perpetrators.”

Tama na ito. Tigilan na natin ang karumal dumal na krimen. (This has to stop. Let’s put an end to heinous crimes.) We shall use the force of the whole government to go after these perpetrators,” Romualdez said.

House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan called for a “bold and swift action to bring the culprits to justice.”

He said, “The certainty of immediate punishment in this case is our best deterrence in the fight against lawless elements.”


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