SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Sunday sought a congressional inquiry over the failure of several police escorts of slain Negros Oriental Gov. Roel R. Degamo to report for duty the day he was gunned down in his own house.
In a statement, Romualdez noted reports that five out of the six police escorts of Degamo did not show up for duty on March 4 when a group of gunmen attacked his house and killed him, along with eight other individuals, mostly civilians.
“Degamo had earlier reported to the police about the threats to his life so it stands to reason that his security detail should have implemented stricter measures to ensure his safety. That’s why it’s highly suspicious why these police escorts were missing on the day he was killed,” Romualdez noted in calling the House Committee on Public Order and Safety chaired by Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan S. Fernandez to investigate the matter.
“It appears that the perpetrators were aware of the fact that Degamo has practically no protection so they could easily accomplish their mission to assassinate him,” he added.
According to Romualdez, the congressional inquiry would seek not only to uncover the reason for the questionable actions of the Philippine National Police (PNP) security personnel assigned to Degamo but also to ensure that all government officials in danger are provided adequate protection.
“We want to find out why most of Degamo’s PNP security details went missing on that fateful day. We don’t want to blindly accuse anyone but the circumstances apparently point to collusion between some members of the PNP and the perpetrators of this dastardly crime,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez cited the striking parallels between the killing of Degamo and the 2019 assassination of Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel M. Batocabe, who was then running for Mayor of Daraga, Albay.
Reports said that despite threats to his life, two of the three police escorts of Batocabe were pulled out days before he was fatally shot.
“If we find out in this congressional inquiry that some PNP personnel were in cahoots with the perpetrators to remove the security protection of Gov. Degamo, we will recommend the filing of appropriate criminal charges against everyone involved,” Romualdez warned.
The lawmaker has condemned the killing of Degamo and urged the PNP leadership to immediately act to bring the perpetrators to the bar of justice and restore peace and order in the province.