Who got P35-M bounty for killers of Batocabe?
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines — The House of Representatives will ask the Philippine National Police to account for the P35-million reward raised for the capture of the mastermind and killers of Ako Bicol (AKB) Rep. Rodel Batocabe in December last year, according to his colleague at AKB, Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.
The House members contributed P13 million to the reward, so “as a matter of transparency and accountability, we would ask [Police General Oscar] Albayalde before his retirement to submit to Congress a report where the money was used” Garbin said. Albayalde, the PNP chief, will retire in November.
Batocabe and his security aide were killed on Dec. 22, shortly after leaving a Christmas party in Daraga town, Albay province. Batocabe was campaigning for Daraga mayor in the May 13 midterm elections and was running against reelectionist Mayor Carlwyn Baldo and former Vice Mayor Victor Perete, now the Daraga mayor.
Baldo has been tagged as the mastermind of the killing but he has been out on bail since Sept. 9.
“The contributions came from the pockets of congressmen who were close to [Batocabe] and who wanted a fast resolution of the case,” Garbin said.
A total of P20 million of the reward money came from President Duterte, while P2 million was put up by the Albay provincial government.
The AKB party list pledged P15 million but the money would now be used to cover litigation expenses, Garbin said.
Asked if the House was concerned about reports that key witnesses against Baldo had retracted their testimonies after failing to get some of the bounty as promised, Garbin said, “I cannot confirm nor deny the reports, but the matter is being looked into.”
Baldo was charged with double murder and six counts of attempted murder in connection with the killing of Batocabe and his aide, and the wounding of six other people.
Baldo denied the charges, saying that he was a “convenient scapegoat.”
Judge Maria Theresa San Juan-Loquillano of the Regional Trial Court Branch 10 here allowed Baldo’s temporary liberty on Aug. 27 after concluding that the evidence against him was “not enough to convince the court … to deny his motion to bail.”
Baldo’s arraignment is scheduled next month. —Mar Arguelles
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