PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said on Monday, March 13, 2023, that the five policemen assigned as security detail to late Negros Oriental Roel Degamo were all accounted for amid concerns about their “highly suspicious” absence the day the local government official was assassinated.

Azurin said he already ordered the five PNP personnel to report to Camp Crame to ensure their attendance to a probe which will be launched by the House of Representatives.

He said he also asked the concern ranking officials, particularly the Negros Oriental police chief and Central Visayas police office director to explain the matter.

“Initially kasi ang ano diyan is the 5 personnel na sinasabi na security ni Governor Degamo, ito ay siya mismo ang namili, kilala niya itong mga ito and siguro they have to explain bakit (wala sila during that time). But usually kasi ‘yung 5 na yan may rotation kasi yan. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na everyday ‘yung 5 na yun ay magrereport for duty but definitely it’s either 2, 3 depende sa arrangement nila,” said Azurin.

“That’s why we have yet to determine or sila mismo ang sasagot niyan bakit nung time ng incident ay isa lang sa security detail niya ang nandoon,” he added.

On Sunday, March 12, House Speaker Martin Romualdez ordered the House committee on public order and safety to look into the possible collusion between some members of the PNP and the perpetrators of the incident noting that out of the six police personnel detailed to Degamo, only one was present at the time of the attack.

Romualdez said it appears that the suspects were aware that Degamo “has practically no protection so they could easily accomplish their mission to assassinate him.”

“[Governor] Degamo had earlier reported to the police about the threats to his life so it stands to reason that his security detail should have implemented stricter measures to ensure his safety. That’s why it’s highly suspicious why these police escorts were missing on the day he was killed,” Romualdez said.

“If we find out in this congressional inquiry that some PNP personnel were in cahoots with the perpetrators to remove the security protection of Governor Degamo, we will recommend the filing of appropriate criminal charges against everyone involved,” he added.

Azurin, however, assured that there will be no cover-up in the conduct of investigation on Degamo’s execution.

Degamo was killed on March 4 when around 10 gunmen barged into his residence in Pamplona town and started shooting. Eight more individuals were killed during the incident while more than 10 were injured.

Four of the gunmen were arrested hours following the incident and they are now facing criminal charges along with several John Does which includes the mastermind. (SunStar Philippines)