Crame transfer for Degamo escorts

The Philippine National Police will transfer the five police security escorts of slain Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo to Camp Crame in Quezon City amid allegations they did not report for duty when the gun attack occurred on 4 March.

PNP chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., has asked top officials of Central Visayas and Negros Oriental to explain the absence of the five security escorts amid allegations that they were in cahoots with the mastermind and those who executed the kill plot.

“They are all accounted for. They will be transferred here (Camp Crame) because they will also be facing the investigation of the House of Representatives,” Azurin said.

Degamo and eight others were shot dead by around 10 gunmen who stormed a compound adjacent to his house in Pamplona town. At least 16 others were wounded.

Azurin earlier noticed the lack of security in the area, especially how the gunmen were able to freely move towards Pamplona town carrying high-powered firearms and how they were able to easily enter the compound to carry out the assassination.

Degamo’s handpicks
Azurin, however, emphasized that the five security personnel had been handpicked by Degamo. He said the absence of the five might be explained by their rotation of duty.

“He (Degamo) knew who these five police security personnel were because it was he who picked them. Maybe they (five police escorts) have to explain why there was only one police security when it happened,” Azurin said.

Azurin assured the public there will be no cover-up in the conduct of the investigation.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges conducted an executive session on Wednesday morning in its motu proprio investigation into the absence without official leave of Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr., who has been implicated in the killings.

Committee Chair Felimon Espares said they will determine if Teves violated any rule of the House of Representatives.

“This is with regards to the leave of absence that was not approved. So the House needs to determine whether or not there are violations. And of course, to protect the image of the House,” Espares said.

Teves’s travel authority for his personal trip to the United States expired on 9 March. House Secretary General Reginald Velasco said the lawmaker had requested an extension of the authority.

Speaker Martin Romualdez had called on Teves to return to the country and report back to work.

Fears for safety
Romualdez, however, revealed that in a phone conversation with Teves from an undetermined location, the latter expressed fears for his and his family’s safety.

When asked what courses of action the committee may take against Teves if it determines there were violations committed, Espares said: “Depends on the members. Of course, we are on the administrative aspect to recommend whatever disciplinary actions. Usually suspension, but if comes to the worst, the House, according to our rules, may recommend expulsion and drop from the rolls.”
Espares assured Teves he will be given due process.

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