House members decry murder of Batocabe
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the House of Representatives on Saturday denounced the killing of Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe, who was ambushed in Daraga, Albay.
Majority Floor Leader and Camarines Sur 1st Dist. Rep. Rolando Andaya said in a message to reporters they are shocked with the death of Batocabe, whom he labeled as a “man of peace”.
“I share the outrage, the pain and the shock of my fellow Bicolanos over the death of my friend and colleague Rodel Batocabe. He was a man of peace and a visionary for progress,” Andaya said of the slain lawmaker, who was a member of the majority.
“The laws he had authored and the programs he had initiated will continue to make a difference in the lives of the people he had selflessly served long after he is gone. That he was cowardly assassinated while spreading cheer in this season of forgiveness betrays the evil nature of the perpetrators,” he added.
Albay 1st Dist. Rep. Edcel Lagman, who is part of the minority bloc, also shared Andaya’s sentiments.
“Politics must not be stained by the blood of politicians and partisans. It must be confined to the confrontation of ideas and programs in the tranquil fora of mutual respect and civility,” Lagman said in a separate statement.
“The culture of violence must be forthwith eliminated, instead of being perpetuated, condoned, and encouraged by those in power,” he added.
Both Andaya and Lagman then called for the speedy resolution of the case.
“His murder must be strongly condemned, swiftly solved, and the culture of violence that stalks our land must be stopped,” Andaya noted.
“His killers and their mastermind must be relentlessly pursued, apprehended, and brought to justice without delay. The real motive and its malevolent ramifications must be determined and established without sparing anyone,” Lagman said.
Meanwhile, Batocabe’s colleagues in Ako Bicol partylist were devastated over the incident.
“We, the Ako Bicol Family is still grieving due to the lost of our colleague Cong Rodel Batocabe. We condemn this senseless killing and we rely on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Garbin said in a message to reporters.
“The province of Albay and the Daragueños are peaceful, loving people and politics of violence has definitely no place in it. We earnestly seek the help of the President to help us bring justice to the Batocabe Family,” he added.
For his part, Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate believed the killing of Batocabe “highlights the climate of impunity” in the country.
“This highlights the climate of impunity prevalent in our country now and we hope that the perpetrator of this crime is brought to justice at the soonest time possible,” Zarate said.
Other lawmakers like Bagong Henerasyon partlyist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, Senior Citizens partylist Reps. Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay and Francisco Datol, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, and Bataan 1st Dist. Rep. Geraldine Roman also extended their condolences to Batocabe’s family.
Batocabe was attacked during a gift-giving event in Daraga on Saturday afternoon. His security escort was also gunned down. Both were brought to a private hospital in Legazpi but were declared dead on arrival.
The slain lawmaker was on his third term as Ako Bicol representative, and was to run for Daraga mayor in next year’s elections. /kga
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