Governor Roel Degamo Assassinated in Ambush; President Marcos Promises Justice
Governor Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental, Philippines, was killed in an ambush on Saturday, March 4, along with five other civilians. The Philippine National Police (PNP) strongly condemned the attack, and President Ferdinand Marcos vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The assailants, wearing uniforms similar to those of the Armed Forces, entered Degamo's residence in Pamplona town and opened fire at around 9.36am. They then fled in two SUVs and a pickup truck, which they abandoned in a neighbouring city.
Police are searching for ten suspects, including the six gunmen. Four assault rifles, one Rifle Propelled Grenade (RPG) with ammunition, four bandoliers fully loaded with plates, one rifle case, two combat uniforms, one grey sweatshirt, three pairs of combat boots and two bullet-proof vests were also recovered.
The attack marks the latest in a long list of politically motivated violence in the Philippines. In February, Governor Mamintal Adiong of Lanao del Sur was shot and wounded in an attack that killed his driver and three police escorts. Tragically, Vice-Mayor Rommel Alameda of Aparri and his five companions were killed when they were ambushed on a highway. These incidents follow the 2009 massacre of 58 people, including the wife and relatives of a gubernatorial rival as well as 32 journalists and media personnel, by the powerful Ampatuan clan.
President Marcos condemned what he described as the “assassination” of Degamo and warned the perpetrators to “surrender now, it will be your best option.” He added, “My government will not rest until we have brought the perpetrators of this dastardly and heinous crime to justice.”
Just last month, the Supreme Court declared Degamo the rightful winner of the contest for the Negros Oriental governorship following a recount that unseated his local rival, who had previously been proclaimed the victor.
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