Power of money in Degamo case?
Mayor Degamo remains hopeful that justice will be served for the death of her husband and nine others, and that peace and order will be brought back to Negros Oriental
PHOTOGRAPH BY BOB DUNGO JR. FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE @tribunephl_bob Mayor Janice Degamo.
The camp of Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo strongly hinted that money is being used by an “unseen hand” to manipulate the suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo for them to recant their earlier sworn statements.
The governor’s widow hinted at the possibility that there would be more recantations from the suspects who earlier pointed to Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. as the one behind the killing of the governor and nine others last 4 March.
“That (recantations) could actually happen since money is really powerful,” said the lady mayor yesterday.
At present, four suspects have already recanted their statements on the assassination that points to Teves and his former bodyguard Marvin Miranda as masterminds.
The suspended solon, who is out of the country, has repeatedly denied involvement in the killing and despite possible sanctions from the House of Representatives, he refuses to return to the country, citing threats to his life.
Mayor Degamo, however, remains hopeful that justice will be served for the death of her husband and nine others, and that peace and order will be brought back to Negros Oriental.
The basis for Mayor Degamo’s statement is the fact that many cases did not fail after the witnesses or the suspects recanted their testimonies because they were not based solely on the statements.
The Department of Justice believes the suspects’ recantations will not have an impact on the case, but it admitted that this would affect the suspects’ credibility.
Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Fadullon on Tuesday believes that it will not have any effect on the case, saying they have strong evidence as what Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has said earlier.
“And even if they recant their statements, this does not mean that the case is totally destroyed,” Fadullon said.
Remulla brushed aside the recantation of three more suspects who initially tagged Teves as the alleged mastermind in the assassination of Degamo.
The three joined Jhudiel Rivero, alias Osmundo, in retracting the statements they gave to lawyers of the Public Attorney’s Office.
Lawyer Danny Villanueva said Rogelio Antipolo, Rommel Pattaguan, and Dahniel Lora also issued affidavits of recantation claiming their earlier statements were coerced from them by the authorities.
“We are confident of our facts,” Remulla said in response to the suspects’ retraction.
Rivero’s recantation came a week after the National Bureau of Investigation formally filed murder charges against Teves over the assassination of his political rival.
Before the retractions, Remulla called a press conference last week to say that six or seven suspects have stopped cooperating with investigators after “lawyering up.”
“Obviously, some people are interested in the statements they want to give and now they don’t want to cooperate anymore with authorities,” Remulla said.
“There is a conspiracy, and there are probably people with a lot of money operating within the conspiracy to be able to afford the lawyers they are now getting,” he added.
Fadullon said the burden to prove the allegation is with Rivero because it does not follow that just because he recanted what he is saying is the absolute truth.
Being forced and tortured, Fadullon said: “If it is true, then anybody who may have been responsible for it, if proven to be correct, may be held responsible or may be held accountable.”
“However, if for example, it turns out these allegations cannot be supported, something which cannot be backed up by evidence, then the one who makes the recantation should likewise face the full force of the law,” he warned.
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