Governor Degamo: Probe Guihulngan killings

Degamo will fight dismissal order
Photo courtesy of Rappler

Governor Roel Degamo has called for the im-partial investigation surrounding  the killing of six civilians served with Court Warrants who were killed in  what the police describe as a shootout with PNP  in Guihulngan two weeks ago.

“As governor of the province of Negros Oriental I wanted to know how the so-called Synchronized Enhanced Managing Police Operations (SEMPO) was conducted ——this time where six civilian  individuals were killed by a massive police operation…..”

Gov. Roel Degamo was irked when told the six were killed because “they preferred to shoot it out with the police instead of giving themselves peacefully to the police during the SEMPO” which was initiated by the police regional command headed by PCSupt Debold Sinas.

Degamo said it is contrary to experience that an individual who is allegedly armed with a .38 caliber revolver will fight it out with a more than 20 or 30 fully armed personnel of both the PNP and the army while serving the search warrants simultaneously during that time in Guihulngan, La Libertad, Mabinay, Sta. Catalina and other areas.

Governor Degamo recalled that during the SEMPO, 94 search warrants were served, six were killed, several firearms and ammunitions recovered and arrested a number of individuals.

But all these, he claims,   lack the required protocol. Degamo said there is no question the SEMPO was legitimate because search warrants were presented, most if not all of them were issued by a Cebu regional trial court judge. But as to whether the six dead individuals have engaged in a shootout, Degamo could not believe.

In Guihulngan City, PRO-7 regional director P/CSupt Sinas even wanted media to use the term shootout when asked if “misukol ang nangamatay.”

Degamo reiterated his statement that “we cannot win this battle with bullets or armed struggle.” Degamo sent  a strong message to the rebels  in his    present  administration that he is serious in giving them livelihood assistance if they return to the folds of the law. In fact, some of them have already availed of the same.

“As governor, akong gisusi unsay hinungdan sa kamatayon sa unom kay sila mga tawo sa probinsiya nga ako gialagaran.”  Degamo said that if they were suspected to be members of the New Peoples Army or supporters, let the law takes its course.

In fact, the provincial chief executive strongly believes that what transpired during the SEMPO has connections to the subsequent death of the CAFGU, burning of heavy equipment in Ayungon, among others.

Degamo also told media during his year-end report that he urged  the hierarchy of the Philippine National Police to coordinate with the local officials in conducting operations of that scope under the principle of one-nation approach.

On the other hand, Degamo was also surprised why good performing chiefs of police were replaced when the province has not been declared as a hot spot area.

Like what happened in Dumaguete, performing chief of police Supt Jonathan Pineda, who was adjudged best police station was pulled out with barely one year tour of duty in the city.

The governor’s message to the higher ups of the police to “follow and observe your own protocol”.

The policy is for the police to submit names of three PNP officials ,  for the chief executive to choose from,   in sending this message to PRO-7 regional director Sinas.  Reports  from the provincial peace and order council have it,   that criminality in Negros Oriental has decreased significantly aside from isolated incidents in Guihulngan city.jrg