March 5, 2023

One suspect killed, three arrested over assassination of Philippine governor 

One suspect killed, three arrested over assassination of Philippine governor 

By Biodun Busari 

Police have shot dead one suspect and apprehended three others that were involved in the brazen shootings that killed a central Philippine provincial governor and eight others on Saturday. 

The shooting which also claimed the lives of poor villagers seeking aid from the political leader and Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo was the deadliest in a string of attacks on politicians in recent weeks in the country. 

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. condemned the killing of Degamo, who supported him in the presidential election last year, and said his “government will not rest until we have brought the perpetrators of this dastardly and heinous crime to justice.”

The slain governor was meeting poor villagers who were seeking medical and other help when the armed men walked calmly into his residential compound in Pamplona town and opened fire, Reuters said. 

They fled in three SUVs, which were later abandoned in a nearby town and from which about 10 men were seen fleeing, according to police reports.

At least 17 others, including a doctor and two army soldiers, were wounded, police said.

In their effort to nab the perpetrators, the police swiftly set up road checkpoints and later Saturday arrested three suspects, including two former army soldiers, and killed one in a gun duel as they chased the gunmen. 

The security forces also retrieved a number of rifles and a pistol from the suspects, police said without elaborating or disclosing if they have determined a motive for the attack.

Degamo, a longtime politician, initially lost the race for Negros Oriental’s governorship in last year’s elections but was later installed as governor after filing a court petition.

He said a few years ago without elaborating that he had received death threats in the province, which has a history of bloody political conflicts and communist insurgency-related violence.