Remulla: Major player in Degamo slay also involved in two failed assassinations vs. governor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday revealed that one of the arrested suspects who had a major role in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo on March 4 was also involved in two other failed attempts to kill the local official last year.

“That person was involved not only in the last assassination attempt that succeeded, but in two other failed assassination attempts for Governor Degamo,” Remulla told CNN Philippines’ The Source. “So he was already the object of an assassination plan since last year, since December last year.”

In a press conference last week, authorities said a suspect, who was a major player in the assassination of Degamo, had surrendered

Remulla said the former soldier was a “direct participant” in the murder, which also left eight others dead.

Prior to his death, Remulla said Degamo visited his office twice regarding attempts to kill him.

In an interview with reporters, Remulla disclosed the circumstances behind the two failed attempts: one involved a marksman with a sniper, and the other a “rifle grenade”

“Yung sa [with the] rifle grenade, they had a problem with distances. Baka matamaan din sila [they might have gotten hit], it might backlash on them,” he said.

“Yung sa marksman naman [with the marksman] through a rifle, di natuloy dahil [it didn’t succeed because it was] hazy, hindi naging clear yung view [the view wasn’t clear],” he added.

Remulla added that the conspiracy to kill Degamo began “more than 100 days ago.”

Asked why this was only brought to light now, Remulla said authorities before probably did not pay much attention to it because of their affiliation with Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves, the alleged mastermind of the assassination.

"One more reason why we had to bring in military intelligence because we could not rely on some of the intelligence that we were used to rely on because of this compromised system," Remulla added.

So far, 11 suspects linked to the killing are under the custody of authorities, Remulla said.

While he cannot reveal if the suspect, who was ex-military, pointed to Teves as the mastermind, Remulla noted the statements of those arrested were generally in line with each other.

More complaints are expected to be filed against the arrested suspects this week, he added.

Authorities are still hunting for the mastermind and other people involved in the murder. These personalities are possibly part of a big criminal organization which is behind other activities, like illegal gambling, in Negros Oriental. It is also possible that Teves is part of the group, Remulla said.

Teves, who has denied his involvement in the case, has yet to return to the country after he flew to the United States for medical purposes, due to security concerns.