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Gov’t vows to prosecute town mayor for Batocabe murder

January 04, 2019 - Friday 4:01 PM by Jon Joaquin

Malacañang on Thursday said government will prosecute “without delay” Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo for allegedly masterminding the murder of Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his security escort, SPO2 Orlando Diaz last December 22.

This after PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde at a press conference tagged Baldo and seven others in the crime.

“We laud the efforts of the PNP, headed by Director General Oscar Albayalde, and the close cooperation of the local community in putting an early and swift conclusion of the investigation into the murder of Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police escort, SP01 Orlando Diaz, as well as the wounding of other innocent bystanders. This is a breakthrough in the pursuit of justice for the victims and their families,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

He said Baldo and the others who had been tagged as suspects “will have their day in court where they can refute the charges hurled against them.”

While they too are afforded the Constitutional presumption of innocence and consequently will be accorded due process, the government shall nonetheless prosecute them for the heinous crime without delay,” he added.

During the press conference, Albayalde said seven persons of interest in the crime, who are employed as confidential staff of the Office of the Municipal Mayor of Daraga, had surfaced.

He said among the seven persons of interest, Christopher Cabrera Naval alias Tuping, who was identified as a trusted security aide of Baldo, was forced to surrender to the PNP-Intelligence Group (IG) on December 30 “due to the relentless police operations jointly conducted by combined elements of Police Regional Office-5 Special Investigation Task Group Batocabe, CIDG, and PNP-IG.”

Albayalde said Tuping provided investigators with “relevant information surrounding the assassination of Batocabe,” saying the plan to assassinate Batocabe was hatched some time in August 2018 when Batocabe made public his bid to run for mayor of Daraga.

Albayalde said according to Tuping, Baldo offered P5 million for the hit job on Batocabe in September 2018 and paid an initial amount of P250,000 to Tuping and his group for the purchase of guns and motorcycles.