‘Wag sana ma-ninja’: House to probe PNP on P35-M bounty in Batocabe slay
MANILA, Philippines — The House public accounts committee will probe the Philippine National Police (PNP) on its utilization of the P35-million bounty against the killers of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, said Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor on Tuesday.
Defensor, chair of the panel, said Minority Leader and Manila 6th district Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. has filed House Resolution No. 384 which called for an inquiry on the disbursement of the bounty raised by the House, President Rodrigo Duterte’s office and the Albay provincial government.
“… Dun naman sa pondo eh ‘wag naman ma-ninja, na nandyan talaga at nagagamit para sa kaso ni Batocabe (I hope the bounty would not be misused, that it’s really there and being used to strengthen the case of Batocabe),” Defensor said in a press briefing.
Abante’s resolution noted that “disturbing information has reached [them] that several witnesses have not received their share in the bounty and are now in fear for lack of financial capacity to secure themselves and their families against bodily harm.”
Because of the failure to get the promised bounty, the “witnesses have already expressed reluctance to testify” on Batocabe’s case against former Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo and his cohorts.
Of the total bounty, P20 million came from the Office of the President, P13 million came from the House, and another P2 million came from Albay provincial government.
It can be recalled that on January 23, former Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo personally handed some P8-million in cash to PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde for the agency’s safekeeping and disbursement to qualified witnesses.
Batocabe and his police escort, SPO2 Orlando Diaz, were shot dead while leaving a gift-giving event for senior citizens on December 22, 2018. The 52-year-old legislator was supposed to run against Baldo for the mayoral post.
Police have identified Baldo as the mastermind behind the congressman’s murder. The former mayor and his alleged cohorts are now facing murder charges, but Baldo, who was recently allowed to post bail, repeatedly denied the allegations. /muf
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