PNP says suspects in Batocabe slay claim mayor is mastermind
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said confessions from primary suspects involved in the assassination of Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe and SPO1 Orlando Diaz were consistent in identifying the mastermind.
The alleged suspects behind the Batocabe-Diaz slay surrendered on Friday, Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr., PNP spokesman, said.
"We have accounted all six suspects that were identified. They are now being processed in an undisclosed location in Albay," Durana said in a television interview over ANC.
Durana said testimonies from the primary suspects all matched and were consistent. He also said the suspects gave similar statements regarding the mastermind of the killing.
"They gave their testimonies separately and on separate occasions but one thing that stood out during this investigation, interview and revelations is the fact that they are pointing to only one mastermind.," he said.
The police spokesperson said the statements were consistent with the confession made by Henry Yuson, alleged main triggerman assigned for the assassination last Friday. Yuson apologized to the Batocabe family.
"The extrajudicial confession made by the main gunman himself, Yuson, as well as the chief security aide of Mayor (Carlwyn) Baldo is so far consistent," he explained.
In a text message, Durana said five of the suspects have signed their extrajudicial confessions pointing to Baldo as the mastermind while the other suspect, Rolando Arimado, has yet to put his allegations in writing.
Arimado and Danilo Muella, surrendered to authorities Saturday to police in Masbate and Legazpi City, Albay.
Chief Superintendent Arnel Escobal, Bicol region police director, said Arimado tagged Baldo as the mastermind.
Muella is under custody of the PNP Intelligence Group. Jaywin Babor, Christopher Naval and Emmanuel Rosello are in police custody.
Durana said they are waiting for the court's next moves.
"It depends on the court whether we will conduct a preliminary investigation but our judicial process would tell us that a preliminary investigation will be conducted. The court will decide whether to issue a warrant of arrest or not," he said
"As far as we are concerned, we have a very airtight case so far against all the suspects including he mastermind," he added.
Police said the case is not yet closed but they are confident they have all the suspects.
"We are quite confident that we have solved the case but as far as we are concerned it is not yet closed. It is standard practice in any investigation that we cannot just close it after the arrest of most of the suspects to make sure that we will not be leaving some aspects of this gruesome murder behind. he said.
"We have not yet closed the case but we are quite confident at this very moment that we got the primary suspects. We are quite confident we got the main players," he added. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS