Many are hoping that before much longer, even while security authorities have their eyes on the angle of terrorism in Negros Oriental, the villainous murder of Governor Roel Degamo and eight others on March 4 will find a satisfactory resolution.
Interesting to note is that Represenative Arnolfo Teves, Jr., in the United States for stem cell treatment with clearance from the House of Representatives to travel there from February 28 to March 9, has not returned.
His request for a 60-day extension of his leave from the House has been denied by the leadership.
At the same time, the plenary on March 22 unanimously voted 292-0-0 (yes-no-abstain) to uphold the recommendation against Teves, considered absent without official leave.
Committee Senior Vice Chairperson and Nueva Ecija 3rd district Rep. Ria Vergara is confident the ethics committe’s actions would pass the Supreme Court scrutiny – should it get to the highest court as the camp of Teves studies its options.
“The Committee on Ethics and Privileges is the body of the House that has authority to give sanctions in a recommending capacity. The plenary either supports it or not,” she noted.
Pointing to the unanimous decision of the House members to carry the 60-day suspension, Vergara said: “I’m confident the committee did its job and I think the [SC] will look at the records and will find that we did not transgress any rules.”
Now law enforcers are looking at possible “terrorist-related” activities in Negros Oriental following the confiscation of improvised explosive devices and components during raids at a sugar mill in Sta. Catalina town last weekend.
Col. Thomas Valmonte, legal counsel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group told a press briefing at Dumaguete-Sibulan airport they would do a trace on the IEDs, in his belief the presence of these IEDs would indicate possible “terroristic” activity.
“If you possess that, there is an indication of an act of terrorism so we are looking at the angle of terrorism here and we will submit these explosives to our forensic group of the Explosives Ordnance Division to determine if this is the signature of the communist or some terrorist groups from central Mindanao,” he said.
The CIDG led the raids at HDJ Bayawan Agri-Venture Corp. sugar mill compound in Barangay Caranoche, Sta. Catalina on Friday and Saturday, by virtue of a search warrant issued by the Mandaue City court.
On the first day, the operatives seized firearms, ammunition, and cash amounting to about P18 million.
The second day yielded IEDs and components and a rocket-propelled grenade ammunition, among other things, buried and retrieved with the aid of a backhoe, said Valmonte.
While the security authorities have our hand in these raids, we hope there will be more than the press briefings as the government wants to move with forward strides to crush this culture of criminality that is sowing fear in the various rungs of society.