BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – A ranking Region 7 police officer said the assault on the residential compound of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo that left him and eight other people dead and wounded 16 others was “no ordinary crime” and was “well-prepared” involving assassins who were trained to kill using sophisticated firearms.
This was how lawyer and Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesman of the Regional Police 7 that has jurisdiction over Negros Oriental province, described the 4 March 2023 broad daylight siege on the residential compound of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo where he was killed with eight civilians, and 16 others were wounded.
As Pelare made the disclosure, anti-Communist advocate Jeffrey Celiz called on the National Police to bring the three suspected killers, all former Army troopers ranked corporal dishonorably discharged from the service, to bring the suspects to Camp Crame in Metro Manila to ensure their safety.
Celiz, who considers Degamo a personal friend in the course of their working together in the government’s counterinsurgency campaign, said he personally knows there could be attempts to silence the suspected killers.
Bring Killers to Crame. Government’s anti-Communist star witness Jeffrey Celiz is calling on the National Police to bring the three captured suspects in the slay of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo to Camp Crame, the national headquarters of the Philippine police, to ensure their safety.
Police had earlier disclosed a joint Army and police operation led to the capture of Joven Aber, Joric Labrador, and Benjie Rodriguez. Aber, 42, is from La Castellana town in Negros Occidental while Labrador, 50, is from Cagayan de Oro City, and Rodriguez, 45, is from Misamis Occidental.
Pelare, who is now the sole source of updates on the probe of the Special Investigation Task Group, told DNX ot is possible that a long surveillance period went before the attack on the Degamos.
He said their recovery of seven assault rifles, ballistic vests and other gear used for the killing indicated the use of expensive and sophisticated weapons and gear.
The seven rifles, all chambered in 5.56mm, is a mix of Armalite, M4 carbines, and M16 assault rifles, Pelare said.
The Firearms and Explosives Office, however, is still processing the firearms to determine if these are licensed or not and, if licensed, to know who owns these.
As to the call of Celiz, Pelare said the decision is up to the director of the Region 7 Police Office.