THE Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Degamo confirmed Thursday, March 9, 2023, that Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. has been named as mastermind in the killing of Governor Roel Degamo and eight civilians.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of SITG Degamo, said the suspects who were arrested during a manhunt operation admitted in an interview with the media in Manila on Thursday, March 9, that Teves ordered them to kill Degamo.

He said this was also the result of their initial investigation conducted following the shooting on March 4, but they did not reveal this to the public pending the manhunt operation against the suspects.

“The declarations made publicly earlier by one of the suspects in Governor Degamo's killing were information that we already acquired from the moment we arrested the four suspects six hours from the incident. While we had these significant developments at hand at the early stage of the conduct of massive hot pursuit operations, we maintained that these be revealed in due time not to compromise the conduct of investigations,” the SITG said.

The SITG had submitted copies of the suspects’ extrajudicial confession to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the filing of cases.

The SITG said the case had been acted swiftly as the police conducted a blocking force and had sealed the exit points, resulting in the arrest of four of the suspects.

Police Brigadier General Jerry Bearis of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7) immediately ordered checkpoints and intensified the manhunt operations against the gunmen.

“With the strong perseverance of PRO 7 to solve the crime and our collaboration with other government agencies, we were successful in unmasking the perpetrators and mastermind in this unacceptable attack. We are likewise confident that with the pieces of evidence at hand, all the persons involved in this killing will be properly prosecuted and justice served to the families,” said Bearis.

The arrested suspects have now been placed under the custody of the DOJ. Two of them have reportedly signified their intention to testify in court against Teves. (AYB/LMY)