ONE of the suspects in the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and nine others have recanted his affidavits linking suspended Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. and his former bodyguard Marvin Miranda as masterminds of the gruesome crime.
In his two-page affidavit of recantation submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Osmundo Rivero accused police investigators of torturing and coercing him into admitting his participation in the crime that took place last March 4.
Rivero recounted on March 5, 2023, at around 9 a.m., he was flagging down a police vehicle in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental to report his missing motorcycle but instead of getting an assistance he was told to board the vehicle and brought to the Philippine National Police-Provincial Intelligence Unit.
Rivero said he was surprised to find out that he was among those being considered as suspects in the Degamo slay case.
The suspect was assisted by his lawyer Harold Montalbo in submitting his recantation to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which covers all the three affidavits he previously executed in connection with the Degamo slay case, and Montalbo also claimed that Rivero was not properly assisted by a lawyer when he executed his affidavits.
In his recantation, said that the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) lawyer assigned to him told him to just give in to the demands of the police to avoid getting hurt.
He said he was beaten up, strangled and suffocated by investigators to force him into admitting that it was Teves who ordered the attack on Degamo’s residence.
He added that he was offered to be placed under the Witness Protection Program if he cooperated with the police and also assured his family’s safety.
However, Rivero also expressed belief that his family has been taken into custody by authorities as they have been missing since March 5.
“It’s not true that I know any Marvin. And it’s also not true that I pointed at the picture of Cong. Teves because I don’t know him and I never saw him,” Rivero said.
“It’s also not true that I was aware of any plot to kill Gov. Degamo and I am not familiar with the guns and the clothing used because I have never seen them,” he added.
This developed as Rivero, through his counsel, filed a writ of habeas corpus petition before the Regional Trial Court of Manila City seeking to compel Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Medardo de Lemos to present before his wife Queenie Rivero, his two-year-old son Jophiel and 15-year-old stepson Christian.
Rivero said he received information that his wife and two sons were taken by a team of soldiers from the Philippine Army together with members of the Municipal Police Station of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur from their residence in Kahayagan, Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.
He said his family was taken to the Office of the Provincial Police in Camp Aberlon, Pagadian City before they were turned over to the NBI.
“Reports have also reached petitioner that his family was brought to Manila and provided accommodations by the NBI/DOJ agents,” the petition read. Rivero said his family did not commit any offense that would warrant their arrest or deprivation of their liberty.
“There is no martial law in the Philippines, the confinement of petitioner’s family under the circumstances above narrated is utterly illegal,” the petition added.
A Writ of Habeas Corpus “is a writ directed to a person detaining another, commanding the former to produce the body of the latter at a designated time and place.”
It extends “to all cases of illegal and arbitrary detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty….”