Pamplona massacre raps filed, PNP has leads on mastermind

The fourth suspect in the Pamplona massacre being brought to the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office for inquest on Monday.*Photo courtesy of Judy Flores Partlow

The Philippine National Police filed multiple charges on Monday, March 6, against the suspects in the massacre of Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, and announced that they have leads on the mastermind.

“The continuing investigation…has uncovered promising leads from evidence and testimonies that will establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and the identification of key players in this multiple murder case,” PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

Charges for multiple murder, frustrated murder and for illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed Monday before the City Prosecutor’s Office of Bayawan City and the Provincial Prosecutors Office in Dumaguete City against four captured suspects for Saturday’s gruesome killing of Degamo and eight others, as well as for the 13 victims who sustained critical injuries and for the four others with minor injuries.

The charges were filed against Joric Labrador, 50, an ex-army man and a resident of Cagayan De Oro; Joven Aber, 42, an ex-army ranger from Barangay Robles in La Castellana, Negros Occidental; Benjie Rodriguez, 45, a native of Mindanao, and Osmundo Rivero, an ex-army man from Zamboanga City.

Police Col. Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesman of the Special Investigation Task Group Degamo, said as of Monday morning, there were four suspects in their custody, in addition to the fifth suspect, who was killed in an encounter with pursuing police and army personnel.

He also said the search continues for the remaining five suspects, who are believed to still be in Negros Oriental.

He said all entry and exit points have been sealed in relation to the hot pursuit operations and more security measures will be implemented as this case progresses.

The nine killed in the Pamplona massacre*

“There are deployed strategic units in all entry and exit points and there are pursuing teams scattered all over Negros Oriental to make sure that we can catch the remaining suspects,” Pelare assured.

Speaker Martin Romualdez also assured that there would be no sacred cows in the government’s fight against criminality.

“Whether they are big or influential persons, we will run after you and will be held accountable for your crimes,” Romualdez said in a statement.

He said law enforcement agencies are now hot on the trail of the person who masterminded the assassination and assured the people of Negros Oriental that the brains would rot in jail.

Two arrested suspects in the killing Degamo and eight others are willing to cooperate in the government’s investigation, the Department of Justice also said.*

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