Five more accused in the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo have affirmed the recantation of their testimonies pinning suspended Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. to the killing.
Atty. Andres Manuel, Teves’ legal counsel, said Winrich Isturis, Joric Labrador, Benjie Rodriguez, and Eulogio and John Louie Gonyon affirmed their recantations virtually on Monday.
“Nag-submit ‘yung limang respondents nung kanilang sinumpaang salaysay at pinasumpaan ng panel ngayong araw na ito sa pamamagitan ng online via Zoom at in-affirm naman nung lima ‘yung kanilang mga statements,” Manuel said in an ambush interview.
(The five respondents submitted their sworn statements and affirmed these statements before the panel through Zoom.)
Last week, accused Romel Pattaguan, Dahniel Lora, Osmundo Rivero, Joven Javier, and Rogelio Antipolo affirmed their recantations.
According to Andres, the recantations will give them basis to question the multiple murder complaints filed against Teves.
“Katulad ng sinabi namin nung mga nakaraan, sa tingin namin, naka-angkla ‘yung aming case o ‘yung kasong ito sa mga statements nung 10 na nag-recant,” he said.
(As we said before, we believe that our case is anchored on these recantations.)
“So kung wala nung sampung nag-recant, sa paniniwala namin eh sapat na ‘yun para maging katanungan kung tama pa ba a ituloy o tama ba na kasuhan si Congressman Teves,” he added.
(Without the recantations, we believe that this is enough to question if it is still suitable to file a case against Congressman Teves.)
Justice Department officials previously said that the case remains solid despite the recantations of the suspects, stressing that they have evidence against Teves.
Meanwhile, Manuel said the National Bureau of Investigation has given them the documents that they requested.
The lawyer said they would look into whether they will file a counter-affidavit on the next hearing on July 17 or another pleading.
Degamo and nine others were killed while several others were injured after an attack on the late governor’s home in Negros Oriental on March 4, 2023
Teves, who is out of the country and has refused to return citing threat to his life, has repeatedly denied involvement in the killing.
Motion for reconsideration
Meanwhile, Manuel said they may ask the DOJ panel of prosecutors to reconsider its denial of their motion asking the department to inhibit from the investigation against Teves.
“Palagay ko, hihingi kami ng reconsideration nung order of the denial of our inhibition kasi we want to get clarified doon sa ginamit na basehan ng panel doon sa pagde-deny nung aming motion,” Manuel said.
(I think we are going to file a motion for reconsideration of the denial of our inhibition request because we want them to clarify their basis for denying our motion.)
He said DOJ prosecutors had told them that they do not need to issue a written resolution on the denial as the minutes of the meeting are already sufficient.
Vickmar Rayoso, one of the complainants, also attended the preliminary probe.
The 67-year-old was among those injured during the March 4 attack, leading him to attend the hearing in crutches. He said he spent almost three months in the hospital.
“Dapat makonsensya sila [Their conscience should troulbe them],” Rayoso said in a separate interview.
Rayoso’s relative, John Mark Vargas, said the victims were disheartened by the recantations.
When asked why he thinks the accused recanted, Vargas said, “Kahit sino alam natin anong dahilan. Pera syempre [Everybody knows it’s money].” –KBK, GMA Integrated News