The latest twist in the case to prosecute those behind the killing of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo and nine others is similar to the travail of homeowners dealing with roof leaks.
There does not seem to be an end to the surprises even after steps were taken to get the suspects and their confessions (in the case of the killings) or to plug the leaks (in the case of the homeowners’ travails).
No matter what they did—be it to identify suspects, arrest and build a case against them, or place sealant on the roof cracks before the rains come only to see the leaking worsen with typhoon Betty—all the effort was not enough.
Let’s start with the rainy season problems of homeowners beginning with my house. During summer and before the rains began, I made it a point to have my roof checked. It was the best time to do repairs, but no mending was needed because I was told my roof was fine. Sealant was re-applied, just in case. Then came the heavy downpours that started in late May and the old problem of leaking resurrected and water pooled inside the house. The situation worsened this time as not only a portion of the wall but my kitchen floor as well had water.
That’s also how to describe the twists and turns in the search for justice for the families of Degamo and the others. The Department of Justice (DOJ) thought it had built a strong case against the suspects after they gave their confessions. The DOJ thought it was all in order. Then came the suspects’ withdrawal of statements.
According to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, an intelligence report said the suspects were offered P8 million each to recant their statements tagging Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. and his former aide Marvin Miranda as those who ordered the killings.
One suspect retracted his confession and he was followed by another and another until all 10 suspects have recanted. It was like having one roof leak and then another. They said they were not involved in the crime and that they were tortured by the police to admit to the killing.
But the DOJ said it was unfazed by the retraction of statements as it held strong evidence against the suspects and the masterminds.
Back to the comparison of the problem of leaking roofs. The DOJ has plenty of plugging to do to ensure the accusations stick despite the retraction and that the killers face jail time and the consequences of their actions. Then there is the matter of Teves who continues to refuse to return to the country despite several warnings.
My chances of fixing my house of its leaks after some waterproofing and talking with an expert this time are better compared to the DOJ’s prospect of rebuilding the case against the killers of Degamo and the others without the suspects’ confessions.
June 03, 2023
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