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ROUGH CUTS| Degamo slay probe is getting muddled


In an interview with the national media aired on television yesterday morning, Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Crispin “Boying” Remulla disclosed that his agency is in the process of securing a search warrant on a helicopter allegedly owned by Congressman Teves that was reportedly flown from Dumaguete to Maguindanao then to Davao City and to Mawab, Davao de Oro right after the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

The Teves-owned helicopter could have been used in bringing the triggermen to Maguindanao, where they could be able to escape capture, according to the DOJ Secretary. And Remulla could have based his assertion on the fact that most of the suspected killers were former soldiers and reportedly previously assigned in different areas in Mindanao. According to earlier reports, the soldiers were either AWOL or were facing various crimes committed while still in the service.

There is, however, something intriguing and even strange. The helicopter of Teves was confirmed to have landed on the grounds of an elementary school in Mawab by no less than the former governor of the province Arturo Uy.

But in a senate investigation conducted last week, the Provincial Police Director told the probe body that he got hold of the flight manifest showing that the Teves helicopter was reportedly “parked” in a hangar of a large banana plantation for needed repairs. The Police Director also said that after having been repaired, the chopper flew to Mawab to bring the mechanic to his place of birth so he could meet his immediate relatives and family members.

When it was the turn of the representative of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) XI to give his account of the helicopter journey, his initial statements were clearly contradictory to that of the Police director’s own narrative. But he later changed his statement and carefully confirmed the narrative of the police officers of Davao de Oro. That is, the Teves helicopter had for long been in the banana plantation hangar undergoing repair, and the pilot got his clearance to fly to Mawab on that day that the Degamo slay was perpetrated.

The question is, how come the repair of the chopper was done in faraway Davao del Norte when such service is well available in Cebu or even in Dumaguete? And this is also the first time that we know that the banana firm’s helicopter service unit is already engaged in repairing and maintaining other corporate or personally-owned aircraft.

Then we could not believe that the aircraft’s mechanic was so influential that he could persuade the helicopter pilot to fly him to Mawab because he has his relatives in that town and the travel was part of a test flight.

In other words, what came out during that Senate Committee investigation somehow established the notion that the Teves helicopter could not have been used to fly the suspect out of Dumaguete since it was already here in the Davao area at the time of the attack on the governor.

Somehow, through his agents, the Congressman can manipulate specific incidents that can lessen the degree of suspicion on the Teves’ involvement in the Degamo slaying along with eight others. Unfortunately, the precisely planned supposed helicopter journey was able to make at least two good men suckers. They succumbed to the suspect’s manipulative ways, knowingly or unknowingly.


Sorry if we have to be repetitive with this issue that, for the longest time, we have been harping on in this column.    

We are referring to the still undistributed garbage bins delivered to several rural barangays in the third district and perhaps in the other districts of Davao City, too. The garbage bins, purchased before the 2019 election, were delivered to the recipient barangays before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Households in the “lucky” barangays, especially those residing along the road, were highly expectant then that the garbage receptacles would be distributed in strategic locations so the rural folk would have the needed depository of their household refuse.

But unfortunately, the pandemic struck, and almost every government service seemed to be at a standstill. But of course, there was never any part of the health protocol in Davao City that restrained the appropriate city department from distributing the bins to where they should be logically placed. Nevertheless, the people forgave the non-distribution for the simple reason that mandated restraints should be given preference over activities that could lead to the spread of the deadly virus, especially in far-flung areas.

The past several months, however, started to show that the pandemic seemed to have slowed down, and people and government are now freely doing what they want, if only to show that Davao City is now returning to normalcy.

In all those months that there seemed to be unimpeded movement of people and delivery of services by the government, the garbage bins remained piled in some lonely corners of the barangay hall compounds. And some piles are slowly covered by tall grass variety. For how long will these wasted assets of the local government be finally utilized for their real purpose? How long will the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) continue to ignore its responsibility of putting the garbage bins where these should be to do justice to the spending of the people’s money for the bins’ procurement?

Or, are the CENRO people too confident that this mess in the performance of their responsibility can escape notice because this somewhat anomalous act is the areas far from the eyes of the top local government executives and possibly cannot be discovered?


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