By Benjamin Pulta

Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla (File photo) 

MANILA – The search for the mastermind behind the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has been boosted by a supposed video-conference call between the alleged mastermind and the suspects, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Wednesday.

“(T)here’s a statement already to the effect that there was a mastermind, but we have to evaluate it properly. Pero meron na hong isang statement akong nakita na pointing to a mastermind (I have seen a statement pointing to a mastermind),” Remulla told reporters.

The justice chief said that while the motive remains murky, there is evidence of a video conversation between the alleged assailants and the persons giving the orders for the murder.

Walang motive na sinabi pero yung kausap nila was on video (No motive was mentioned but the person they were talking to was on video) . A live conversation happened on video with the person na tinuturo,” he said,

“I only have read the preliminary statements that were done and I can say that the end is near. Malapit na ho itong masarado (This investigation is nearing conclusion) except that all the perpetrators have not been rounded up. There are a few more people that we have to round up,” Remulla added.

“I cannot point to anybody yet. Basta the fact is meron lang tinuturo na nakausap sa video (The fact is that there is someone they talked with in the video),” he said.

The four respondents in the gruesome killing of Degamo and eight others have been transferred to Manila on Tuesday and the DOJ has said all four have expressed their intention to cooperate with investigators.

A criminal charge for three counts of murder and frustrated murder have been filed before the Tanjay, Negros Oriental regional trial court against Joric Labrador, Joven Javier, Benjie Rodriguez, Osmundo Rivera and 12 other John Does.

Separate charges for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives were filed against three of the respondents in the Bayawan City regional trial court .

Degamo and the other victims were gunned down inside his residential compound in Pamplona, Negros Oriental where aid was being distributed to his constituents. (PNA)