Press Release
May 10, 2023

OPENING STATEMENT - FOURTH HEARING - PSR No. 518 - Brazen Assassination of Incumbent Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to thank you all for coming to the fourth hearing of this Committee on Proposed Senate Resolution No. 518 and other recent cases of other political assassinations.

Allow me to say, for the record, that the hearing we had last April 19 was, without a doubt, one of the most gripping that I have ever had the privilege of holding. Gripping, thrilling, but sadly, and for the most part, for the wrong and unjust reasons.

Gusto ko pong iparating sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan na nakikinig at nagmo-monitor, Negrense man o hindi: ang ganda po ng probinsya ng Negros Oriental. Mapa-kabundukan man o karagatan, hindi po natin maipagkakaila kung gaano kayaman ang probinsyang ito. This is precisely why it is so heartbreaking to know that a place as beautiful as Negros Oriental could be enveloped with such darkness - killings, land-grabbings, illegal gambling, and countless allegations of violence, many of them political in nature.

During the previous hearings, our Committee was able to get a clearer picture of several cases that disturbed the once peaceful province of Negros Oriental.

Today, we aim to address some recurring issues so that your Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs can identify the needed legislations and policy recommendations to restore and maintain peace and order in Negros Oriental.

We have yet another long day ahead of us. A day of listening, empathizing, probing, clarifying. We hope for everyone's patience, cooperation, and most of all, honesty. Maging matapat tayo, sabihin natin ang katotohanan, hindi lamang dahil takot tayong ma-cite in contempt, kundi dahil naiintindihan natin na ito ang ating tungkulin bilang Pilipino.

As your Chair of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, you have my word: I will see this through to the end. Hindi ko na alintana ang mga basher sa social media, maging yung mga video na nagiging trending noong mga nakaraang linggo. Mayroon na ngang kanta iyong aking pag-interrogate kay Staff Sergeant Alabata. I am grateful that the country is paying close attention, but I also ask you, with all sincerity, to see these cases with eyes that look beyond their entertainment value, if there's any.

Sa likod ng mga testimonya at mga nakagugulat na pangyayari, ay mga tunay na tao, tunay na buhay. Let this series of hearings be a reminder to all of us, that life is not and must never be made cheap. That every human life is precious - the life of a politician, of a journalist, of a police officer, the life of every ordinary citizen. Ito ang treasure natin, kaya nararapat na pangalagaan at pahalagahan natin ito.

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