Roel Degamo

Firearm used in Degamo slay slipped through PNP custody – NBI

Ryan Macasero

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Firearm used in Degamo slay slipped through PNP custody – NBI

KILLING. The Joint Task Force Degamo led by Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, Secretary of Justice Jesus Crispin Remulla and Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., show attack on the Degamo's Pamplona compound.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

The Philippine National Police is unsure if the gun was lost or if it was illegally sold by someone with access

MANILA, Philippines – At least one of the guns used in the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo slipped through the custody of the local police and ended up in the hands of the suspects in the killing, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said during a Senate inquiry on Monday, April 17.

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The NBI shared the information during the Senate investigation into the killing of Degamo on March 4. Out of the eight firearms recovered, only one gun was registered.

The PNP and NBI have differing versions of who owns the gun. 

According to the PNP’s firearms and explosive officer (FEO) chief Paul Kenneth Lucas, the only firearm registered had a license that expired in 2007.

Lucas said the gun was registered to a certain Ramos Ho in Dumaguete City. The police official said they could not locate this Ho as he was not at the address listed on the license. 

NBI director Medardo de Lemos interjected, saying they identified the gun owner through their own information. 

“I’d like to volunteer information on the statement of Colonel Lucas. That the firearm identified was actually a subject of a case investigated by the NBI, where we filed a case of illegal possession of firearms against a Mr. Anthony Ho,” de Lemos said.

The gun in question was an M-16 rifle, similar to the ones seen in the CCTV footage in the Degamo assassination. 

Firearm used in Degamo slay slipped through PNP custody – NBI

Colonel Noel Flores, PNP Central Visayas Deputy Regional Director for Operations, later said that the firearm was first kept in the custody of the Dumaguete Regional Trial Court 39.

It was eventually transferred to the PNP and received by the now-retired Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office PNCO (police non-commissioner officer) Isidro Temprosa. 

Senator Risa Hontiveros grilled Flores on how a gun that was in police custody could have ended up in the hands of assassins.

“Someone in the PNP sold, gave firearms to criminal elements. Yung officer po may custody, liable po ba para diyan (Someone in the PNP sold and gave firearms to criminal elements. The officer who had those [firearms] in custody, are they liable)?” Hontiveros said.

Flores said they are still investigating how the PNP firearm ended up being allegedly used in the Degamo killing.

“That is subject for our investigation maam. Hindi po namin masabi sa ngayon kung binenta to o nawala (We don’t know yet if it was sold or lost) or if somebody got it from the custody of the PNP, but we already filed a case,” Flores said. 

A majority of the suspects involved in the Pamplona massacre are ex-military.

Because of this, the issue of dishonorably discharged military officers was also raised during the Senate inquiry. 

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at