The investigation into the killings of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel R. Degamo and eight other persons last March 4 “is heading to the province’s 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo ‘Arnie’ Teves Jr. as one of the masterminds,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said on Monday, March 27.
Congressman Teves Jr. has consistently denied any reported involvement in the Degamo’s slaying. He is still abroad. The House of Representatives has ordered his 60-day suspension.
Remulla said he believes there could be at least two or three masterminds involved in the case. “We don’t know yet. We have to get the facts together,” he said.
“I think they’re being considered as masterminds but I don’t know yet. I have to get to the panel of prosecutors,” Remulla told journalists.
“But right now, with the way it is progressing, that’s the direction we are heading to,” he pointed out.
Asked if the “masterminds” could be contracted, Remulla said: “They can be contacted.”
“They are always in social media. ‘Yung isa nag-text sa akin (one of those texted me), Cong. Teves texted me,” he said.
Teves has been posting videos on Facebook denying his reported involvement in the murder case and has already sent text messages to Remulla.
He said the DOJ’s panel of prosecutors is expected to release on Friday, March 31, the resolution on the multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder complaints that were filed against the six other suspects who were presented for inquest last Thursday, March 23.
“So, by Friday, at least at the end of the month, we can have this already filed before the courts,” he also said.
Four other suspects who were arrested during pursuit operations after the March 4 killings have been charged in court with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder.
On Remulla’s request, the Supreme Couert (SC) had allowed the transfer of all cases on the killings of Degamo and eight other persons, and injuries sustained by 17 others from the courts in Negros Oriental to the Manila regional trial court (RTC).
Meanwhile, Remulla said the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) seized during one of the raids conducted by police in the properties of the Teves family in Negros Oriental also “jibes” with the statements made by the suspects who had expressed willingness to cooperate with investigators.
“The IEDs that were found were consistent with the statements made. For one of those who came later early March he said he saw somebody preparing IEDs,” he said.
Remulla noted that one of those who surrendered was also one of those who prepared the IEDs which, he said, are used in terrorism and assassinations.
“No mention of this but the ownership of the safehouse is the one that is important there and I believe it is owned and controlled by the Teveses,” the justice secretary stressed as he pointed out that the safehouse keeper is already in government custody.