MANILA – Mayor Carlwyn Baldo of Daraga, Albay – the primary suspect in the murder of AKO Bicol party-list representative Rodel Batocabe – has been temporarily released by a Legaspi City court for posting bail under his illegal possession of firearms charges.
Baldo posted a P3-million bail before the Legazpi City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 after the provincial prosecutors failed to file in court cases of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition and illegal possession of an explosive against him.
Baldo, who is seeking reelection in the 2019 midterm polls, was arrested on Jan. 22 after authorities seized unregistered firearms during a search conducted in his house in Barangay Tagas in Daraga.
“If bail could be availed of by one who is charged with a capital offense (provided evidence of guilt is not strong), then with more reason that bail could be available for one under arrest without any proper criminal information filed in court against him,” the court said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, accepted the decision of the Legazpi City RTC to allow the Daraga, Albay mayor to post bail for his temporary liberty.
“As the premier law enforcement agency, the PNP bows to the majesty of the law and accepts the court decision allowing Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo to post bail,” PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac said.
Another branch of the Legazpi City RTC has earlier issued a precautionary hold departure order against Baldo to prevent him from leaving the country without court permission.
Aside from his illegal possession of explosive case, Baldo is also facing double murder and frustrated murder charges for the ambush of Batocabe last December. Baldo has repeatedly denied the allegation./PN