BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Soldiers and police under the Special Joint Task Force Negros are now trying to flush out the remaining four killers of former Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo in a classic pincer attack before premier elite forces here can maneuver to neutralize them.
The aggressive combat action by police and soldiers in Negros Oriental province came days after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, a personal friemd of Degamo, issued verbal orders to form the military-police and interagency task force to “supress the criminal activities and impunity in the entire island of Negros, to give justice to the families and loved ones of those who were slain in the assassination of Governor Roel Degamo, and restore normalcy and confidence of our people in the area,” as disclosed by senior defense undersecretary and OIC defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr.
Army Major Pancito Cenon III, who speaks for the SJTF Negros told DNX Army troopers from the battalions under two brigades – the 302nd based in the Oriental and the 303rd based in the Occidental – are now scouring 21 areas in the Oriental where the remaining four killers are believed to have fled.
Checkpoints are being conducted in the borders of the six cities and 19 towns of the province while combat units of the Army are also scouring the uplands to look for the four who are in one area “but not necessarily together,” Cenon said.
Cenon added the four are only armed with high-powered rifles and their firepower can be matched by State forces after they ran into problems that led them to leave behind some of their weapons and gear and vehicles.
Their skills, however, he pointed out are what “we are seriously loking at it because they, too, are highly skilled.”
He did not elaborate.
Discharged Army Scout Rangers Joven Javier, Joric Labrador, and Benjie Rodriguez were captured hours after Degamo was slain in a broad daylight attack on his residential compound in Pamplona town as he was tendung to constitutents.
The Scout Rangers, one of the Army units under the Armed Forces Special Operations Command, was one of the special units from which the Army drew soldiers from to serve as pioneer members of the now premiere counter terror unit, the Light Reaction Regiment.