3 witnesses bribed to recant testimony vs ex-Daraga mayor, Batocabe son claims
MANILA, Philippines – The three witnesses in the killing of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe were bribed to recant their testimonies against former Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, the slain lawmaker’s son claimed on Wednesday.
Batocabe’s son, Justin, made the allegation during a House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee meeting which tackled the disbursement of the P35-million bounty against the late lawmaker’s killers.
He said that the three witnesses were given part of the P35-million bounty that was contributed by House members, Office of the President, and the provincial government of Albay.
“I was told that three accused witnesses flip-flopped towards the accused Mr. Baldo. One of them was Christopher Nabal, who I was told that he was given a certain amount for his protection,” the younger Batocabe said.
“But upon cajoling and threats and the offer of more money and a lawyer, he flip-flopped and sided with Mr. Baldo. Also, the 2 gunmen who gave their sinumpaang sanaysay (testimony) implicating Mayor Baldo also recanted,” he added.
He asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to remain vigilant in monitoring the witnesses so that they would not be allowed to recant their testimonies.
“In my view, there should be some focus on those witnesses that why were they allowed to flipflop. Sana hindi na pabayaan ang pagbabantay sa ating mga witnesses na ito,” Batocabe said.
(I hope the monitoring of these witnesses will not be lax.)
In his opinion, House Public Accounts Committee Chairperson Rep. Mike Defensor said that the reward money given to the three witnesses should be recalled and they should be investigated in recanting their sworn statements.
“Para sa akin, oo, kasi ‘yun yung naging batayan kung bakit sila binigyan ng pondo. Tingnan natin talaga kung baka naman may nangyari pa sa kabila uli,” Defensor said in a separate press conference when asked if he thinks the money given to the witnesses should be recalled.
(In my opinion, yes, because their statements were the basis why they were given money. We should also look at if the other party gave them money.)
“Baka kasama na sila doon sa pumatay, naloko na nila ‘yung gobyerno tapos ngayon nagpapa-presyo na naman sa kabila,” he added.
(Maybe there were among those who killed and they hoodwinked the government, and they are asking the other side for more money.)
The lawmaker said the three witnesses will be invited to the next committee hearing to explain their side.
In December last year, Batocabe and his aide, Orlando Diaz were shot dead during a gift-giving activity for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
Baldo is currently out on an P8 million bail for double murder and six counts of frustrated murder.
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