Ex-Usec ‘bribing’ Degamo suspects

Baligod said four of the suspects revealed to him the alleged attempts of the ex-DoJ official and NBI guards to buy their silence

Arnolfo ‘Arnie’ Teves Jr. (Daily Tribune File Photo)

The camp of slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo on Thursday accused a former Department of Justice undersecretary of trying to bribe detained suspects in the killings of the politician and nine other people.

Lawyer Levito Baligod, counsel for the Degamo family, said the former undersecretary, who he did not name, is working with some jail guards at the National Bureau of Investigation detention facility to offer money to the detainees in exchange for their silence.

Baligod said he revealed to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos the identity of the former DoJ official who had been paying the detainees phantom visits at the NBI.

The lawyer added that some of the detainees promised to eventually name NBI detention guards who are working in cahoots with the ex-DoJ official. As an agency, the NBI is overseen by the DoJ.

Some of the detained suspects earlier tagged Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. as the mastermind in the assassination of Degamo in Pamplona town last 4 March.

Baligod is representing Degamo’s widow, Pamplona town Mayor Janice Degamo, and the other victims.

Possible recantations

Last week, Remulla warned that the suspects have refused to cooperate with authorities after they were provided with private lawyers.

He also raised the possibility of the suspects retracting their statements incriminating Teves, given to lawyers of the Public Attorney’s Office.

Baligod is yet to respond to a Daily Tribune question on whether the ex-DoJ official was working for Teves. He said Mayor Degamo wanted the suspects to be put beyond the reach and sphere of influence of the ex-official.

“I requested them that if there is a possibility of transferring these detainees from the NBI detention facility to the Philippine National Police custodial center,” Baligod said.

He said four of the suspects revealed to him the alleged attempts of the ex-DoJ official and NBI guards to buy their silence.

The suspects said they refused the money offer but were transferred to a cell with another suspect Marvin Miranda, who tried to bully them, according to Baligod.

Baligod’s statement came as a suspect in the Degamo killing sought the help of the Commission on Human Rights as NBI agents are allegedly holding his family hostage for two months now.

Jhudiel Roxas Rivero, alias, Osmundo Rivero through his counsel Danny Villanueva wrote CHR chairman Richard Palpal-Latoc asking him to investigate the alleged abduction of the NBI of his family.

Rivera said his wife Queenie, stepson Christian and a two-year-old son were taken from their house in Zamboanga del Sur and brought to Pagadian City for “security purposes.”

Villanueva said Rivera believes his loved ones are being used as bargaining chips so he wouldn’t recant his testimonies.

Baligod, however, said that even if all of the suspects in the case would recant, they believe that Teves can be successfully prosecuted through the application of the “Godfather doctrine.”

Teves claimed there are no pieces of direct evidence linking him to the Degamo killing.

Still, even in the absence of direct evidence, someone like Teves can be pinned for the killings under the doctrine that’s well established in the United States.

“Although there may be no direct evidence linking Congressman Teves to the killings, more than three circumstantial evidence would point to the fact that he was one of the masterminds,” Baligod said.


Meanwhile, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of Teves, described the filing of murder and attempted murder charges against his client in relation to the killing of Degamo as “anti-climactic.”

He questioned why it took a while before the cases were filed against the suspended lawmaker, despite Remulla already making statements against Teves as early as March.

“These are anti-climactic. What took them so long? We have been telling them, if you have evidence, please file them in court, before the DoJ, so we might respond to them instead of engaging in a trial by publicity,” Topacio said.

Along with Teves, a criminal information was filed against Capt. Lloyd Cruz Garcia; Angelo Palagtiw; Neil Andrew Go; Nigel Electona; one alias “GeeAnn” or “Jie-An,” reportedly a sister of Palagtiw; Rogelio Antipolo Miranda Jr.; Romel Pattaguan; Winrich Isturis; John Louie Gonyon; Dahniel Lora; and Eulogio Gonyon Jr.

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