Press Release
May 11, 2023

Agenda: P.S. Res. No. 518 - Brazen Assassination of Incumbent Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo (By: Sen. Hontiveros)

After five grueling days, ladies and gentlemen, it has come to this. Limang beses tayong nagsagawa ng pagdinig sa Proposed Senate Resolution No. 518. Since I became a Senator in 2019, this is my first time to hold a hearing five times for a single resolution.

Bakit ko po ito ginawa? Kung tutuusin, pwede namang hindi na umabot sa limang hearing. This could have been shortened, but to tell you all frankly, that is not how I operate. All my life, I have been trained in endurance - enduring poverty, enduring war, enduring the challenges of a public, political life. To take upon myself the responsibility of listening to the testimony of each one is a task that I have willingly accepted. I have exercised utmost patience and tolerance, not for the sake of siding with anyone, but for the sake of the truth. Nothing but the truth.

What is the issue, really? What sparked the need for this series of hearings? Let us return to the heart of the matter - the brazen killing of incumbent Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, which happened after a series of political assassinations and attempted political assassinations in the country.

We lost a good public servant in Governor Roel Degamo. He was killed, mercilessly, violently, along with several others. Last month, the death toll was 8, but last May 4, two months after the incident, sampu na ang namatay.

Ito mismo ang problema. Kung paano tila napakadali lang kumitil ng buhay sa probinsya ng Negros Oriental. It seems that life has become cheap. Cheaper than material wealth. Cheaper than reputation. Even cheaper than political power.

I have said it before: the Senate is not a court of law. The task before us is to look for policy gaps and recommendations, with the help and guidance of valuable government agencies particularly the Commission on Human Rights, Department of Justice, and law enforcement agencies, to help ensure that we can prevent such crimes from happening.

Kaya lang, nais ko lang din bigyan ng diin: no one is exempted from the court of conscience. In the absence of cameras and microphones, sa likod ng Facebook Live at YouTube, we cannot run from the truth. We can keep trying to run and hide, but when our time comes, the truth will eventually catch up, and it is the only thing that can set us free.

Once again, I wish to thank the people of Negros Oriental, the personnel of the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, and other key persons who have given not just their time but also their resources just to attend and provide needed information for this hearing.

Sa akong gisulti pa kang Ms. Gina Palma: do not lose hope. Mao pud ni akong ibilin nga mensahe kaninyong tanan: do not lose hope. I am a man of my word - dili tamo pasagdan. Trust me, trust your Senate.(Just like what I told Ms. Gina Palma: do not lose hope. This is also my message to all of you: do not lose hope. I am a man of my word - I will not leave you. Trust me, trust your Senate.)

Thank you and good evening to everyone.

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