MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking at all possible motives in the ambush of AKO Bicol party-list’s Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police escort on Saturday in Daraga, Albay.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said they received information that the New People’s Army (NPA) could have a hand in the murder aside from local politics as Batocabe was a Daraga mayoralty candidate for the 2019 midterm elections.
“Meron tayong nakuhang information na hinihingan siya ng revolutionary tax, or extortion, ine-extortan ito ng mga NPAs doon sa lugar at hindi siya nagbigay,” Albayalde said.
He added: “Also hindi natin tine-take for granted or isina-sawalang bahala ‘yung political side, ‘yong political motive nito since he was a candidate for mayor of Daraga.”
Albayalde also ordered the creation of a special investigation task group that would identify the perpetrators, including the possible mastermind of the slaying.
“The identification of the gunmen is crucial to the solution of the case,” Albayalde said. “We appeal to the public to immediately report to the police any information that could lead us to the perpetrators and to help us quickly solve this case.”
Batocabe, 52, was gunned down along with police escort Senior Police Officer 1 Orlando Diaz in a gift-giving event at Barangay Burgos in Daraga, Albay on Saturday afternoon.
The party-list lawmaker succumbed to eight gunshot wounds from .40 and .45 caliber firearms.
Police recently identified six persons of interest in Batocabe’s killing after getting statements from six witnesses.
Malacañang condemned the killing of Batocabe and said authorities were investigating the murder. It vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We denounce this senseless killing,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. “The Palace likewise expresses its deep condolences to his bereaved family, his loved ones, as well as his friends and colleagues in Congress.”
House of Representatives’ Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo condemned the killing of Batocabe, even as she called for a speedy investigation of the case.
“Nothing can justify his murder and that of his police aide. I call on our law enforcement agencies to conduct a speedy and thorough investigation to bring all those behind this dastardly act to justice,” Arroyo said./PN