DOJ says it plans to transfer Degamo slay suspects after alleged bribery by ex-Justice official

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — Authorities are planning the transfer of the suspects in the murder of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention facility to Camp Crame in Quezon City amid allegations some of them were bribed by a former Justice official.

“It's on process already. We’ve already given heads up to the NBI director that these suspects may be moved upon the request of certain parties,” Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Mico Clavano told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Friday.

He said the detained suspects can be moved to Camp Crame in Quezon City in the next few days if DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla approves the transfer request.

The DOJ chief is open to the suggestion of transferring the suspects since this is a way of preserving the integrity of the case, Clavano added.

Asked about the alleged bribing issue of a former Justice undersecretary, the DOJ spokesperson said he has heard about the matter.

Without naming the concerned individual, Clavano noted the ex-government official was initially not permitted to talk to the suspects after they confirmed not knowing him.

“Eventually, he found his way again to the NBI and perhaps he was able to talk already to the families outside, saying that someone had sent him. And that’s why the NBI also had no choice but to let him speak to the suspects,” Clavano said.

Levy Baligod, lawyer of the Degamo family, first revealed the issue on Thursday, saying the former DOJ official bribed the detained suspects so they would not cooperate with authorities. 

The lawyer claimed this former official worked with jail guards at the NBI detention facility.

Remulla has said the filing of murder complaints against alleged mastermind Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves was pushed back because six or seven suspects are uncooperative after hiring a private lawyer.