DEADLY ATTACK. One of the five persons killed in the Saturday morning attack in Pamplona, Negros Oriental is being taken to a hospital in Dumaguete City. Gov. Roel Degamo was shot and killed in the attack carried out by a group of men carrying high-powered firearms that barged into his residence while he was having a meeting with his staff and other government officials. (Photo by Judy Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Checkpoints have been set up and uniformed personnel from different units were deployed immediately for pursuit and blocking operations after the gun attack that killed Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and five others on Saturday morning, provincial police director Lt. Col. Reynaldo Lizardo said.

Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, and Lt. Col. Roderick Salayo, commanding officer of the 11th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army said government troops would assist the police in the pursuit of the perpetrators.

Lizardo could not tell this early who were behind the gun attack but some local official were not discounting the possibility that it was politically motivated.

Several persons were also wounded in the attack, among them Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief Marlo Quilnet, and local media practitioner, Brian Cortes.

Degamo was reportedly in a meeting with provincial government officials, staff, and constituents when perpetrators clad in military uniforms arrived on board two vehicles, barged into Degamo’s compound, and opened fire at them.

Siaton Mayor Fritz Diaz, a relative of Degamo, and Dauin Mayor Galicano Truita confirmed Degamo’s death in an interview with the press shortly after noon at the hospital where the governor expired.

The governor’s wife, Pamplona Mayor Janice Vallega, and family members were with Degamo when he passed away.

The mayor said her family condemned the assassination of her husband who was pronounced dead at 11:41 a.m.

A source close to the governor said in an interview that Degamo was meeting with Capitol employees to discuss the upcoming distribution of livelihood assistance from the office of Senator Imee Marcos when the armed men arrived and attacked them.

Diaz expressed his belief that the attack was “politically motivated” but appealed to the governor’s supporters to stay calm and “not to retaliate” as this would only aggravate the situation.

He and Truita vowed to seek justice for Degamo’s death.

The Siaton mayor said he had also earlier received a death threat and that the governor had told him to take the necessary precautions to protect himself.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Negros Oriental is awaiting guidance as to who shall take the place of the deceased governor. (PNA)