Suspect in Batocabe slay surrenders

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A second suspect in the killing of Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his security escort, SPO2 Orlando Diaz, last December 22 has surrendered, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director Chief Supt. Amador Corpus confirmed on Friday.

In a statement, Corpus identified the gunman as Henry Yuson alias Romel/Eno, 38, and has a standing arrest warrant for rape.

Yuson is under police custody after he surrendered to the Army in Sorsogon on Thursday.

A former NPA rebel who later became a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) member, Yuson has been tagged as the one who allegedly shot Batocabe with a .40-caliber pistol.

The suspect is allegedly one of six people hired by Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo to kill Batocabe.

In a press conference Thursday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the gun-for-hire team that killed the lawmaker consisted of paramilitary personnel and former communist rebels.

Albayalde said among the seven, Christopher Cabrera Naval alias Tuping, who was identified as a trusted security aide of Baldo, was forced to surrender to the PNP-Intelligence Group (IG) last December 30, due to the relentless police operations jointly conducted by combined elements of Police Regional Office 5 (Bicol) Special Investigation Task Group Batocabe, CIDG, and PNP-IG.

Tuping provided investigators with relevant information surrounding the assassination of Batocabe.

Accordingly, the plan to assassinate Batocabe was hatched sometime in August 2018 when Batocabe made public his bid to run for 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 Batocabe.

According to 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, a pattern that was observed by the group in its casing and surveillance on Batocabe.

Based on the extrajudicial confession of Tuping, revelations made by
Judavar, and intelligence research conducted by the IG and CIDG, the other members of Tuping’s team and their individual participation in the murder are as follows:

Another suspect, Rolando Arimado alias RR, is a rebel returnee who served as lookout and back-up gunman.

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

Jaywin Babor alias Jie, also a former soldier, 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 allegedly employed by the mayor that is involved in contract killing as a gun-for-hire syndicate.

Babor is now under police custody after he surrendered to authorities following his indictment before the Provincial Prosecutor of Albay.

Cases of double murder and multiple frustrated homicide were filed in Albay against Baldo and six others.

Batocabe was supposed to run for mayor of Daraga in this year’s mid-term elections.

President Rodrigo Duterte visited the slain congressman’s wake last December 26. (PNA)