By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan and Benjamin Pulta
MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is now focusing its investigation on so-called “main players” who have assisted the gunmen in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and eight others last March 4.
“Tinitingnan natin ito yung mga accomplice nila, mga intermediaries and possibly itong alleged utak dito sa krimen na ito (We are looking at their possible accomplices, intermediaries and possibly the alleged brain behind this case),” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in an interview on Thursday.
Fajardo also said their investigations have already moved out of Negros Oriental and their investigators are now sifting leads in adjoining provinces based on information provided by the arrested suspects.
Aside from these testimonies, she added that the police force is now in possession of “forensic evidence” that will help fully resolved the case.
Fajardo declined to give more details pending the conclusion of the joint investigation.
As this developed, Department of National Defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr. assured the public that the government is making every effort to apprehend the culprits behind the attack.
“When the President called the services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and within ten days, we were able to see to it that everyone directly involved was taken under our custody,” he said. Galvez
He also reiterated that they will follow the orders of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and observe due process for everyone involved in the crime.
On Friday, National Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Giselle Dumlao identified the six suspects who underwent inquest proceedings Thursday — Rogelio Antipolo Jr. (alias Jun Jun), Rommel Pattaguan, Winrich Isturis (alias Gwen), John Louie Gonyon (alias JL), Dahniel Lora (alias Buboy) and Eulogio Gonyon Jr. (alias Master Black).
They underwent debriefing by military intelligence officers before they were brought to Manila.
Officials earlier said they were former soldiers.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the raids conducted by the Negros Oriental police will support the information offered by the suspects.
“The reliability of the statements will be boosted by the search warrants which will show that the statements (from the surrenderers) are accurate,” Remulla told reporters.
Remulla said Task Force Degamo expects to complete its investigation and come up with sufficient evidence to establish cases by the end of the month, at the latest. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)