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PNP tags Daraga Mayor Baldo as mastermind behind Ako Bicol Rep. Batocacabe’s slay

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The Philippine National Police has tagged incumbent Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the mastermind behind the assassination of Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe.

Batocabe and his aide SPO2 Orlando Diaz were killed last December 22 after attending a gift-giving event in Brgy. Burgos, Daraga.

In a statement today, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde announced the “major breakthrough” in the investigation on the killing of Batocabe and his escort.

“The names of seven (7) persons of interest, all employed as confidential staff of the Office of the Municipal Mayor of Daraga, Albay have surfaced in the investigation jointly conducted by the PNP Intelligence Group and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group,” Albayalde said.

Among those was Christopher Cabrera Naval, alias Tuping, and was identified as a “trusted security aide” of Mayor Baldo.

Albayalde said that Naval was “forced to surrender to the PNP-IG last December 30, 2018 due to the relentless police operations jointly conducted by combined elements of PRO 5 SITG BATOCABE, CIDG, and PNP-IG.”

“Tuping provided investigators with relevant information surrounding the assassination of Batocabe,” the police chief said.

Albayalde said that the plan to assassinate the Ako Bicol solon began last August 2018 when the latter announced in public his intention to run as mayor of Daraga.

“This was corroborated by Emmanuel Bonita Judavar who was involved in the initial planning but allegedly backed out during the actual assassination. Judavar earlier came forward and gave his knowledge to the police about the killing of Cong. Batocabe,” said Albayalde.

“Later according to Tuping, Mayor Baldo allegedly offered P5-million for the hit job on Batocabe sometime in September 2018 and paid an initial amount of P250,000.00 to Tuping and his group for the purchase of guns and motorcycles,” he added.

The police chief said that Tuping’s team is composed mostly of former military, paramilitary personnel and NPA rebels who are presently employed under fictitious names as confidential staff of the Office of the Mayor and each receiving a monthly compensation of P7,000.00.

“Based on Tuping’s revelation, he purchased two SYM motorcycles in Camalig, Albay using the assumed name Abelardo Castillo, while another member of the team, Danilo Muella alias Manoy Dan, acquired two home-made cal.45 pistols. Muella is reportedly a former Technical Sergeant in the 97th Military Intelligence Company of the 9th Infantry Division,” said Albayalde.

The police chirf also said that based on the testimony of Tuping and Judavar, the first attempt on Batocabe was during the congressman’s routine engagements at radio station DZJB and Hotel Venezia in Legazpi City.

The police chief also named the following individuals who allegedly participated in the assassination:

1) Henry YUSON @ Romel/Eno, a former NPA rebel who was arrested by MICO, MIB of 9th IB and who later became a CAFGU member. He was tagged as the main gunman who shot Batocabe allegedly with a cal.40 pistol.

2) Rolando ARIMADO @RR, a rebel returnee who served as lookout and back-up gunman. It was reported that he likewise pulled the trigger to kill Cong. Batocabe and SPO1 Diaz on that fateful day.

3) Emmanuel ROSELLO @ Boboy, a former CAFGU member who drove the other getaway motorcycle. He was arrested earlier this morning by police operatives in Daraga, Albay. The getaway motorcycle was likewise seized from his possession.

4) Jaywin BABOR @ Jie, also an ex-Army man who was designated as driver of the getaway motorcycle.

“From all indications as revealed by the suspects and witnesses, and physical evidence gathered by the police, the group that killed Batocabe and Diaz is a private armed group employed by the mayor that is involved in contract killing as a gun-for-hire syndicate,” Albayalde said.

He also said that cases of Double Murder and Multiple Frustrated Homicide were filed in Albay against the mastermind Mayor Baldo and six others.

“Immediately effective today, I have ordered the revocation of firearms licenses and PTCFOR of Mayor Baldo and has recommended the removal of his deputation over the local police of Daraga, Albay,” said the police chief.