DoJ probing Degamo suspect’s torture claim


An investigation is being considered by the Department of Justice into the claims made by one of the detained suspects in the murder case of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine others.

Justice Assistant Secretary and spokesperson, Atty. Mico Clavano said this will determine the veracity of the allegations of one of the suspects in the daylight killings in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on 4 March.

The suspect, Osmundo Rivero, alleged that he was tortured to implicate suspended Congressman Arnulfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. in the high-profile crime.

To see the light, Clavano said the DoJ’s current plan is to investigate and verify the allegations made by Rivero.

If the investigation finds no evidence to support the claims, then appropriate actions will be taken. However, if it is discovered that there was indeed mistreatment and torture, all individuals involved will be held accountable, Clavano said.

In a five-page counter-affidavit submitted to the DoJ on Monday, Rivero accused the Philippine National Police of physically assaulting and torturing him to coerce him into implicating Teves as the mastermind behind the crime.

He also claimed that his public attorney advised him to comply with the police’s demands to avoid further harm.

Clavano, however, expressed doubts about the credibility of Rivero’s revelations, saying that investigators find it unlikely given the high-profile nature of the case and the scrutiny it has received from the public.

“At the very beginning, there was no such incident. Based on all the reports and ground information, nothing of that sort occurred,” Clavano said.

In a Zoom meeting with reporters on Thursday, he did not discount the possibility that the camp of Teves had something to do with the recantation of the suspects in the assassination of Degamo.

“It’s very possible. We’re looking at many angles here, that’s why we need to be very careful with our witnesses,” Clavano said.

He cited the alleged attempt of a former DoJ undersecretary to talk to the witnesses at the National Bureau of Investigation.

Levito Baligod, the counsel of the Degamo family, disclosed that the former official tried to bribe detained suspects to clam up.

Clavano said they are eyeing the transfer of the suspects to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

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