By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (Norppo) estimated that around 7,000 to 10,000 residents from various parts of Negros Oriental paid their last respect to slain Governor Roel Degamo during his burial in Bonawon, Siaton town yesterday.
Degamo’s supporters flocked to Degamo’s house to show their indignation over his death. Some of them went emotional while calling for “justice.”
In her message after the requiem Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo reiterated her call for justice for her husband and the other victims of the gun attack.
Governor Degamo and eight civilians were killed while 17 others were wounded when armed men barged into his residence in Pamplona town on March 4.
Mayor Degamo urged the people not to lose their hope for justice to be served and for peace to reign in the province.
“Dili naton palungon ang hope for justice to be served and peace in our province,” she said.
She also thanked those who mourned with them since day one.
In his homily, Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes said that something good for the province came out of the late governor’s death, as it united the province in fighting against the culture of violence and impunity.
“We pray that the cycle of violence and unsolved killings in Negros Oriental will end,” he added.
Degamo was given a 21-gun salute before he was laid to rest beside his parents and sister at their residence in Siaton town.
Mourners released white balloons after the burial to call for peace in the province.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., declared Thursday, March 16, 2023, a special (non-working) day in the province to give the people time to pay their last respects to Degamo.
Meanwhile, Negros Oriental third district rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. has requested from the House of Representatives a two-month extension of his leave of absence, citing a very grave security threat to his life and his family.
In his letter to the House, Teves said that he will come back as soon as the threat will be dealt with accordingly under the laws, and with the aid of the government.
Teves flew to the United States in late February for medical reasons. He has yet to return from his trip, despite the expiration of his travel authority issued by the House on March 9.
Teves was tagged as the alleged mastermind in the gun attack based on the statement released by one of the suspects to the media.
The Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Visayas then released a statement saying that they have already acquired such information even before it was made public by one of the arrested gunmen.
Teves has earlier said that he has nothing to do with the incident and that others just wanted to pin it on him.
Six suspects have been accounted for while four others are still being pursued by the authorities, according to Major Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Negros.