Marvin Miranda directed recantations of Degamo slay suspects - Remulla

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 31) — One of the alleged masterminds in the assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo is also behind the recantation of several suspects in the killing, according to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla.

"(Marvin) Miranda true to form as we said was the director of everything, the director of massacre, was again directing the activities around how they are going to make everybody recant," Remulla said at a briefing on Wednesday.

"True to his billing as a co-principal or co-conspirator...and co-principal, co-mastermind together with Congressman (Arnie) Teves, so everybody is behaving just true to form of what they have been billed as," the secretary added.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos previously revealed that Marvin Miranda was a long-time bodyguard of Teves.

Miranda has yet to give a statement on Remulla's claim.

Five more suspects in Degamo's killing have recanted their statements: Winrich Isturis, Eulogio Gonyon Jr., John Louie Gonyon, Joric Labrador, and Benjie Rodriguez.

Their lawyer, Jord Valenton, told the media on Wednesday that his clients were forced to sign a confession.

"Pinilit lang sila. Pinapirma lang sila ng confession [They were coerced. They were made to confess]...but that's not voluntary," he said.

Several other suspects have withdrawn their testimonies, but Remulla said they have only received the recantation of Jhudiel (alias Osmundo) Rivero.

READ: 5th Degamo slay suspect recants statement – lawyer 

READ: Suspect in Degamo slay recants statements on killing – lawyer 

"A crime has been committed again by these suspects but we don't know which is the real crime. We are not claiming anything what we think these stories are being made by spin masters, spin doctors that they have employed. Of course their choreographer right now is Atty. Villanueva," he said.

Danny Villanueva represents the first five suspects who recanted.

The DOJ earlier said it was possible the Teves camp was behind the recantations. But Ferdinand Topacio, the lawyer of Rep. Arnie Teves, denied any links to Villanueva, although Topacio said he expects more recantations to happen.

READ: Teves camp possibly behind suspects' recantation – DOJ spokesman

Remulla also said Teves is still in Timor Leste after his visa was extended pending the resolution of his appeal for asylum before its supreme court.