Roel Degamo

Senators nix Arnie Teves virtual appearance in Degamo slay hearing

Bonz Magsambol, Ryan Macasero

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Senators nix Arnie Teves virtual appearance in Degamo slay hearing

CALL FOR JUSTICE. Supporters place signs for justice on the coffin of slain Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo during his funeral in Siaton town, on March 16, 2023.

Francis Pabiana/Rappler

Suspended Negros Oriental 3rd District representative Arnie Teves hogs the spotlight as senators discuss his whereabouts

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate committee on public order unanimously agreed on Monday, April 17 to bar suspended 3rd district Representative Arnie Teves’ virtual appearance in its investigation into the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and eight others.

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the chairman of of the committee, said that Teves can join anytime if he decides to appear physically.

An hour into the inquiry, senators were still speculating about the whereabouts of Teves.

The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs started its inquiry in aid of legislation on Monday morning, April 17. The probe aims to prevent the spate of recent political assassinations or attempted political assassinations in various areas of the country.

The House of Reprentatives has suspended Teves for not coming back after the lapse of his approved leave.

His brother, Henry, a former congressman and the candidate who failed to unseat Degamo in the May 2022 elections, appeared at the Senate hearing.

Police have filed complaints against several men allegedly working for the brothers in connection with the Degamo killing, but not the brothers.

At the hearing, Justice Secretary Boying Remulla said there is no warrant of arrest against Arnie.

The congressman, who was out of the country when the deadly attack happened, was previously confirmed to attend via video conferencing.

Janice Degamo, the widow of slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, previously wrote a letter Friday, April 14, to the Senate saying she opposed allowing congressman Teves to testify in its inquiry.

Others senators confirmed to attend the hearing include: 

  • Senator Grace Poe 
  • Senator Pia Cayetano 
  • Senator Risa Hontiveros 
  • Senator Francis Tolentino 
  • Majority Floor Leader Joel Villanueva 

Senate Resolution No. 518. reads: “The resolution directing the appropriate senate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the brazen assassination of the incumbent Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, and the spate of recent political assassinations or attempted political assassinations in various areas of the country.”

Degamo’s widow Janice, the mayor of Pamplona town, the mountainside municipality where the massacre happened, attended with 67 other names under her guest list.

These names include local government officials, police officers, and families of victims of killings. 

Janice called for a Senate investigation into Negros Oriental killings before Degamo’s death, and pushed for it even more after her husband was assassinated. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.
Nobuhiko Matsunaka


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