Ex-DOJ official bribed Degamo slay suspects to not cooperate with authorities – lawyer

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — The lawyer of the Degamo camp on Thursday claimed a former Department of Justice (DOJ) undersecretary bribed suspects in the murder of Gov. Roel Degamo to not cooperate with the government.

“We know for a fact and the secretary of justice is looking at it now that a certain high ranking official of the Department of Justice before with a rank of usec (undersecretary) is working with some jail guards at the NBI detention facility. Ino-offeran nila ng pera ‘yung detainees… para hindi sila mag-cooperate sa government (They offered money to detainees for them to not cooperate with the government),” lawyer Levy Baligod told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said the filing of murder complaints against alleged mastermind Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves was pushed back because six or seven suspects are no longer cooperating with authorities after hiring a private lawyer.

Baligod did not name the former justice undersecretary, but noted the former government official is one of the lawyers of the respondents.

The Degamo camp counsel said four detainees talked to him after the preliminary investigation hearing at the DOJ to tell him about the situation. When they rejected the money, the suspects claimed they were bullied by Marvin Miranda, the alleged co-mastermind in the Degamo slay, he added.

Baligod also said Remulla has identified the person, and the DOJ is set to take administrative action on the matter.

The suspects will also eventually name the jail guards involved, he added.

There are currently 11 suspects under the custody of authorities. While Remulla said he sees the possibility of recantation, Baligod said he is confident the case will still push through with the help of their two credible witnesses.

The National Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday filed murder complaints against Teves over the assassination of Degamo.

Baligod said these are now being evaluated to possibly issue a subpoena against the embattled lawmaker.