THE Philippine National Police (PNP) urged one of the suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo to provide evidence that would support his claim that he was “tortured” by police to admit involvement in the crime and implicate suspended Congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr.

In an interview with reporters Tuesday, May 23, 2023, PNP chief of the Public Information Office (PIO) Brigadier General Red Maranan said based on initial investigation, they have not yet seen any evidence that would “substantiate” the claim of Osmundo Rivero, who said he was beaten up by the police to force him to own up an affidavit linking Teves to the crime.

“Well, kailangan mag-presinta rin siya ng sarili niyang ebidensya at yun ay kanyang allegation. Ang allegation naman kasi is not an evidence,” he said.

(Well, he also has to present his own evidence and that is his allegation. The allegation is not an evidence.)

“He has to substantiate ‘yung kanyang mga allegation but one thing is clear, siya ay nahuli at nafilan ng kaso at ngayon ang kaso ay nasa husgado na,” he added.

(He has to substantiate his allegations but one thing is clear, he was caught and charged and now the case is in court.)

Maranan emphasized the unwavering commitment of the PNP to upholding human rights, noting that the PNP, if not the only government agency, has its own Human Rights Affairs Office that addresses the complaints of the public.

He also expressed confidence that the Special Investigation Task Group Degamo, which includes various law enforcement agencies, did a keen investigation to solve the case, particularly in identifying the suspects.

In his five-page affidavit, Rivero retracted his earlier statement over his involvement in the assassination of Degamo on March 4 in Pamplona town that also resulted in the death of nine innocent civilians.

He said he was arrested by the police as he was about to seek their assistance over his missing motorcycle in Bayawan City on March 5.

He said he was suffocated using a plastic bag placed in his head and mauled to force him to own up to a crime he totally had no knowledge of.

Rivero also denied knowing Teves, who he said in his earlier statement was the brains behind Degamo’s execution along with his former bodyguard Marvin Miranda.

He said the police together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) crafted the affidavit and forced him to sign it.

Rivero was earlier identified as one of those who barged into Degamo’s residence and started shooting.

He was allegedly the man seen in a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera clad in gray long sleeves, bullet proof vest and cap.

Earlier, Rivero’s legal counsel said they are already seeking permission from the court for him to undergo medical examination by an independent physician, not in any way affiliated to the PNP as well as the NBI.

Aside from Rivero, three other alleged members of the assault team retracted their statements where they admit their involvement in the murder case. (SunStar Philippines)