PNP names Daraga mayor as mastermind of Batocabe and bodyguard killing
Daraga City Mayor Carlwyn Baldo was named by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday as the alleged mastermind behind the killing of AKO Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe and PO1 Orlando Diaz.
In a press briefing, PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde, citing witnesses and two suspects, said Baldo gave the order to seven men to kill Batocabe and Diaz on December 22.
Police named the seven persons as Christopher Naval, Emmanuel Judavar, Henry Yuson, Rolando Arimado, Danilo Muella, Emmanuel Rosello and Jaywin Babor.
Albayalde said police filed cases of double murder and six counts of multiple frustrated murder against Baldo and the six men before the Albay provincial prosecutor's office. Albayalde also ordered the revocation of Baldo's firearms licenses and removal of his deputation over local police.
Naval, a security aide of Baldo and a discharged Army serviceman, surrendered to the police on December 30. Judavar was involved in the initial planning but backed out when Batocabe and Diaz were killed.
Muella is said to be a retired Army technical sergeant; Yuson, a former New People's Army (NPA) member and Armiado, a rebel returnee, shot Batocabe and Diaz. Rosello, arrested Thursday morning, and Babor drove the getaway motorcycle.
He said the case is considered solved but not closed. "We will do everything to arrest the suspects," Albayalde said. "I have a letter submitted to DOJ (Department of Justice) for the issuance of Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order for Baldo and six other suspects," Albayalde added.
Albayalde, quoting Naval and Judavar plus police intelligence and criminal investigators, said Baldo offered five million pesos for the hit job on Batocabe in September. The mayor, the PNP chief added, paid an initial amount of P250,000 to Naval's group to buy guns and motorcycles.
Albayalde said this group are employed under fictitious names as confidential staff of the Office of the Mayor. They are receiving P7,000 monthly.
"From all indications as revealed by the suspects and witnesses and physical evidence gathered by the police, the group that killed Batocabe and Diaz is a private armed group employed by the mayor that is involved in contract killing as a gun-for-hire syndicate," Albayalde said
The plan to assassinate Batocabe was hatched after he announced his bid for the mayoral post in Daraga, according to PNP. Naval and Judavar allegedly revealed that the first attempt to kill Batocabe was during his routine engagements.
"According to Naval and Judavar, the first attempt on Batocabe was during the congressman’s routine engagements at radio station DZJB and Hotel Venezia in Legazpi City, a pattern that was observed by the group in its casing and surveillance on Batocabe," Albayalde said.
"It turns out that there are really rebel returnees, ex-NPAs ( New People's Army) that are involved. Also, we said that it is politically motivated so it appears that the mayor paid them," he said. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS