Palace lauds ‘swift conclusion’ of Batocabe slay
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday lauded the efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the “early and swift conclusion” of the killing of AKO Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the PNP identified Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the alleged mastermind in the murder Batocabe, who is running for the mayoral post of the said municipality in Albay.
“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,” Panelo said in a statement.
“This is a breakthrough in the pursuit of justice for the victims and their families,” he added.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said Baldo and the other 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 said.
The Palace official then called on the “mutual cooperation and support” of the PNP and the local community in fighting and solving acts of lawlessness and crimes.
“The early solution of the Batocabe murder is the result of this partnership – and credit should be given to them,” Panelo said.
“We call on the citizens to be always on the alert and watchful on any activities and/or acts committed by persons which have the appearance of unlawfulness or irregularity amounting to a crime – and report the same to the proper authorities,” he added.
At a press conference, Albayalde said complaints for double murder and six counts of frustrated murder have been filed against Baldo and six of his employees before the Albay Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday morning.
Batocabe and his bodyguard, SPO1 Orlando Diaz, were shot dead after a gift-giving event at a covered court in Barangay Burgos two days before Christmas. /ee
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