AUTHORITIES seized several materials that are believed to have been used in the planning stage of the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo during a raid on March 26, 2023 in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. said in a press conference Monday, March 28, 2023, that as part of the continuing investigation on Degamo’s slaying, the Special Investigation Task Group Police Regional Office 7 implemented two search warrants in two separate areas in the city.

One of the two subjects of the warrant was Nigel Electona in Amparos Village, Barangay Villareal where authorities recovered alleged illegal firearms and ammunition, hand grenades, pictures of Degamo and his family, maps, house routes and a photo of the gate of Degamo’s residence.

Abalos said these items were “believed to have been used during the planning stage of the murder” of Degamo.

Electona was the chief security of HDJ Bayawan Agri-ventures Corporation in Tolong compound, Sta. Catalina owned by former Negros Oriental governor Pryde Henry Teves, brother of suspended Negros Oriental Third District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr., who has been considered a mastermind in the assassination.

Electona was one of the three individuals arrested by police during a raid on March 24 that resulted in the seizure of various high-powered firearms, ammunition, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) buried underground.

The operating team used backhoe and other heavy equipment to dig and recover the IEDs.

Also recovered in the compound was cash worth nearly P19 million.

In the implementation of another search warrant on March 26, authorities also seized a firearm, ammunition, fragment grenade, assorted pictures of Degamo, a sketch plan and a picture of a building, which is also “believed to have been used in the planning of the murder of Governor Degamo.”

“In the light of these recent developments, the Special Task Force Degamo is very confident that we are nearing to the end of unmasking the masterminds behind the shocking and gruesome murder of Governor Degamo and others,” Abalos said.

“Sa pagkakataong ito, ito lang ang message ko sa mastermind. Alam kong alam mo kung sino ka. Sumuko ka na. Lahat ng ebidensyang ito nakita naman natin sa ilang nakaraang araw. ‘Yung mga mismong pumatay nasa kustodiya na. Habang tumatagal, andami na. Alam mo kung sino ka. Sumuko ka na,” he added.

(This is my only message to the mastermind. I know you know who you are. Surrender now. We have seen all these pieces of evidence in the past few days. The killers themselves are in custody. You know who you are. Surrender now.)

Abalos said investigators are still assessing if Pryde can also be considered among the brains behind Degamo’s killing.

Degamo was assassinated in his residence in Pamplona town on March 4. Eight other individuals were also killed in the incident, which was perpetrated mostly by former army soldiers who are all now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier nullified Pryde’s victory during the 2022 national and local elections as the province’s governor in favor of Degamo.

The poll body overturned his win following the transfer of votes of nuisance candidate “Ruel Degamo” to “Roel Degamo.” (SunStar Philippines)