PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Spokesperson Colonel Jean Fajardo said on Saturday, March 11, 2023, said that one of the long firearms recovered from the arrested suspects in the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo was used in his killing.

In a press conference, Fajardo said the assault rifle, which was recovered from the four arrested suspects, was positively identified to have been used during the incident following the conduct of a ballistic examination.

She said that aside from the judicial testimonies of the gunmen who admitted hand in Degamo’s assassination, investigators are also working on forensic evidence to further tighten the case against those behind the incident on March 4, 2023, which also left eight other individuals, including innocent civilians, dead.

Fajardo said they are also in talks with the owner of the vehicles used in the crime to identify how they got into the hands of the suspects, as well as the unrecorded firearms that were found at the scene of the crime.

Charges of murder and frustrated murder have been filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the four arrested suspects identified as Benjie Rodriguez, Joven Calibjo Javier, Joric Labrador and Osmundo Rivero and 12 John Does, which includes five other gunmen and masterminds.

In accordance with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s order to ensure that the perpetrators of the gruesome crime are brought to justice, Fajardo said a Special Investigation Task Force was formed.

She said it will be headed by Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. and among the members were the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice.

“Ang intention po nito to harmonize po lahat po ng efforts and to make sure na iisa lang po ‘yung direction po nang mga law enforcement agencies…to make sure we could immediately the soonest possible time ay maresolba po itong kaso na ito,” said Fajardo.

(The intention is to harmonize all efforts and to make sure that the law enforcement agencies have one direction…to make sure we could immediately solve this case as soon as possible.)

She said the AFP is also assisting the PNP to ensure peace and order in Negros Island and conduct road blocking to contain the fleeing suspects.

Fajardo said the NBI is ironing out documentary requirements to ensure an airtight case against the perpetrators of the crime.

The arrested suspects have earlier identified a certain “Cong Teves” as the mastermind of Degamo’s killing.

Negros Oriental Third District Representative Arnulfo Teves earlier denied hand in the crime. (SunStar Philippines)