A lousy mastermind

By Alex P. Vidal

“I was extremely greedy and lost my moral compass.”— Andrew Fastow

IT’S evident the killers of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo and seven others inside his compound in Pamplona town on March 4 panicked and bungled the operation (they managed to kill the target but fell one after another like careless jail breakers) after they were collared and arrested in another town some 50 kilometers away hours after committing the macabre massacre.

The reason probably was because they were 1. ill-prepared; 2. under pressure; 3. underpaid; and 4. were led by an amateurish team leader during the execution of the crime.

The CCTV that caught the horrifying shooting tells it all.

ILL-PREPARED. It was possible they weren’t ready to execute the hit in that location. Based on initial findings, they have been planning to assassinate Degamo since last year on orders of a lousy mastermind. Either Degamo wasn’t harmed because he was elusive, or timing wasn’t on the killers’ side.

When news broke out recently that assassination attempts have targeted some local chief executives (ambush of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. on February 17, 2023 in Maguing town, Lanao del Sur and murder of Aparri, Cagayan vice mayor Rommel Alameda in Bagabag, Nueva Ecija on February 19, 2023, to name only a few), the lousy mastermind must have pressured the hired killers to “finish the job now” on Degamo to confuse investigators who were zeroing in on other possible motives on the above-mentioned ambushes.


UNDER PRESSURE. Because they were probably under pressure, they figured their best chance was to attack the governor in broad daylight even if in front of many people inside his compound after they had failed on several occasions to do it in other places and time.

The lousy mastermind’s “flight” abroad must have added tremendous pressures on the killers.

The lousy mastermind must have thought it was best to kill the target while he was away “on a medical leave abroad” to make it easier to feign innocence.

UNDERPAID. One of the confessed killers admitted to reporters and probers recently they were paid only P20,000 each for the very dangerous and difficult operation.

And the amount wasn’t even a contract for the “special job.” The pay allegedly was in the form of a “cash advance” from their regular “salary” as the lousy mastermind’s bodyguards or goons in his private army.

LED BY AN AMATEURISH TEAM LEADER. Many claimed the killers, who were mostly former military scalawags, “acted like professionals” because they moved with a military precision when they executed the massacre. They also abandoned their vehicles in a not-so-faraway neighboring component city of Bayawan.

Excited to commit the dastardly crime but foolish enough in not knowing how to cover their tracks. They’re no better than the toy soldiers.


We beg to disagree that they are “professional killers.” Seasoned or professional killers don’t operate like amateurs or confused gangsters caught in a waterfront scrimmage.

Based on their movements as seen on the CCTV, they appeared panicky and nervous during the cowardly attack.

Once they were able to get inside the compound, they started firing at all directions in the crowd, thus it explained why so many civilians, who had nothing to do with their target, were killed and wounded after being hit by the volley of fires from high-caliber long firearms.

No professional killer will agree to do a major hit for a fee of P20,000–in the form of a cash advance (far cry from the P.5 million pay the killers of Manila broadcaster Percy Lapid had allegedly received).

The killers of Degamo, et al might be former military men dismissed from service for various offenses, but they did a sloppy and embarrassing job.

Without their high-caliber firearms, they could have been eviscerated if met by an equally equipped and superior security force.

They wouldn’t have been nailed and decked like scared rabbits while fleeing after the massacre if they were trained killers who knew their way out of dire straits.

They were nothing but a group of patsies, cheap, clumsy, dull-witted, disorganized, and inept shooters who rattled and shook inside their boots while working for a lousy, greedy, brainless, and unhinged mastermind.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)


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