House honors Ako Bicol Rep. Batocabe
MANILA, Philippines (Updated) — The House of Representatives on Monday held a requiem Mass and necrological service in honor of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe who was assassinated in Daraga, Albay, last Dec. 22.
Batocabe’s wife, Gertie, and sons Justin and Kiel attended the final tribute to the 52-year-old legislator. The Mass started at about 10 a.m.
“The late Hon. Rodel M. Batocabe was an exemplar of how the party-list framework effectively works for the Filipino people,” the program invitation stated.
“We celebrate his memory as an unyielding advocate of eradicating poverty through affordable quality education. He was also a proponent of legislative efforts to mitigate the occurrence of hazing and bullying in schools. A lawyer by profession, he took a firm stand in promoting social justice, women empowerment, environmental protection, renewable energy and universal access to health and education,” it added.
Batocabe’s widow embraced lawmakers and friends upon their arrival at the plenary hall.
Family of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe arrives here at the House plenary for the chamber’s mass and necrological services for the slain congressman. pic.twitter.com/5tmk0xbVBX
— Path Roxas (@PathRoxasINQ) January 14, 2019
Lawyer John Reyes, Justices Vicente V. Mendoza, former 1-Care party-list Rep. Michael Angelo Rivera, House Minority Leader and Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez, Deputy Speaker and AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin, and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered their eulogies.
Reyes, Batocabe’s long-time friend and classmate at the University of the Philippines Law School, said Batocabe had always been “the life of the party.”
“He would be the one to deliver the jokes… Another classmate of ours, Harry Roque, would put it, if Rodel had not been a lawyer and a congressman, he would have been a comedian,” he added.
Mendoza meanwhile described Batocabe, his former student, as a “good man” and a “faithful public servant whose life – so full of promise – was struck down before its time.”
Garin fondly recalled the lawmaker as her “partner in crime.” She stressed that justice for Batocabe also means honoring and continuing his work.
“It is justice for Rodel if we support his advocacies for Bicol, education, health, population development, human rights and climate change,” she said.
Arroyo meanwhile lauded the Philippine National Police for its fast resolution of the murder of Batocabe whom she said was “daring in the advocacies that he pursued,” and “fearless in the vigor by which he pursued his ideas and convictions.”
“All of us recall Rodel to be a bubbly fellow. On the other hand we have heard our eulogists, we have seen in the video what a daring man he was. The Daragueño Who Dared. He dared to confront the evil in Daraga at the cost of his life,” the Pampanga congresswoman said.
Justin, Batocabe’s eldest son, responded to the eulogies.
“We will not allow the injustice of indolent leadership. Together, we shall honor his memory by continuing his good deeds of public service. We will make sure that his dreams for a prosperous Daraga and a progressive Bicol region become a reality,” Justin said.
An offering of the Legislative Memorabilia followed.
The slain lawmaker was the representative of Ako Bicol party-list for three consecutive terms and the lead convenor and spokesperson of the Party-List Coalition in past Congresses. In the present Congress, he was the president of the 50-member Party-List Coalition.
Batocabe was supposed to run against incumbent Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo in the May 13 elections, but the lawmaker and his police escort, SPO2 Orlando Diaz, were shot dead while leaving a gift-giving event for senior citizens.
The police has identified Baldo as the mastermind behind the congressman’s assassination. The mayor and his alleged cohorts are now facing murder charges.
Baldo has denied the allegations. /cbb
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