JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Wednesday disclosed that a mastermind have been identified by the arrested suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and eight others last Saturday.
In an interview, Remulla told reporters that he has seen one of the statements executed by the four suspects with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) about a live video conversation with the mastermind.
The NBI earlier took custody of the four suspects from the police after they expressed willingness to divulge information in connection with the gruesome crime.
The four were identified as Joven Javier, Benjie Rodriguez, Joric Labrador and Osmundo Rivero.
“There’s a statement already to the effect that there was a mastermind but we have to evaluate it properly. But, I have seen a statement already pointing to the mastermind,” Remulla said.
When asked if the suspects already divulged the motive for the gruesome crime, Remulla said: “The motive was not mentioned but the person they were talking to was on video. A live conversation happened on video with the person they are pointing to.”
With this vital information, Remulla expressed belief that the closure of the case is already near.
“I can say that the end is near…except that all the perpetrators have not been rounded up. There are a few more people that we have to round up,” the justice chief said.
The statements executed by the respondents are still in the verification process by the NBI, according to Remulla.
He added that the suspects would also undergo a second round of questioning with the presence of their lawyers.
The DOJ is still determining whether to place the four suspects under the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).
An information for three counts of murder and frustrated murder have already been filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tanjay City, Negros Oriental against the four suspects and 12 other “John Does.”
Another set of information for three counts for violation of laws on the illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives against three of the respondents were also filed before the RTC of Bayawan City.
The four suspects were believed to be among a group of at least 10 heavily armed men who barged into the compound of Degamo’s residence in Barangay Isidro in Pamplona, Negros Oriental and indiscriminately fired at the governor and some constituents availing of financial assistance being given to poor families.
The DOJ has offered a P5 million reward for anyone who can provide information that will lead to the immediate arrest of the suspects.