PNP looking at all angles in Batocabe slay

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said it is looking at all possible angles and motives in the killing of AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police escort, SPO1 Orlando Diaz, in Albay on Saturday afternoon.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said these include a close look into politics and the involvement of the New People’s Army (NPA) and private armed groups (PAGs).

“There is an information na parang ito nagbibigay or hinihingan ng revolutionary tax or extortion ng mga (from the) NPAs sa lugar (in the province) that’s one and also hindi natin tini-take (we are not taking) for granted or isinasawalang bahala ‘yung political side, political motive,” Albayalde told reporters on Monday.

Pareho natin iniimbestigahan yan at meron tayong mga information na sinasabi nila na merong nagmi-maintain ng private armed group sa lugar na yan, these will all be operated on at ‘yan ay magko-conduct tayo ng case buildup kahit sasabihin natin na may nagtago, we will still case buildup dito sa mga sinasabi nilang nagmi-maintain ng PAGs. (We will conduct an investigation on both angles and we have an information that a private armed group is operating in the area, these will be evaluated and that we will conduct a case buildup despite efforts to conceal them… we will still have a case buildup against the alleged maintainers of these PAGs), he added.

Alayalde has ordered the creation of a special investigation task group that would exert all efforts to identify the perpetrators, including the possible mastermind of the slaying.

As of this time nakausap natin yung RD doon (I already talked with the Regional Director), they were in a conference but I directed no less than the director of the CIDG to take the lead in the investigation dito sa pag-iimbestiga (to conduct probe) and the timeline natin dito is as soon as possible,” Albayalde said.

Albayalde said the identification of the gunmen is crucial to the solution of the case, adding that the facial recognition by some of the witnesses is a big help in going after them.

“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,” Albayalde said.

Politicians crossed party lines to condemn the killing, with some of the congressmen raising at least PHP30 million so far as a reward for any information that could lead to the solution of the case.

The provincial government of Albay, on the other hand, is also raising separate reward money.

Batocabe had filed his candidacy for mayor of Daraga in next year’s mid-term elections.

Reports showed that Batocabe was shot by a still unidentified suspect while attending a gift-giving event for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in Barangay Burgos in Daraga town.

Batocabe and his escort were brought to a nearby hospital in Legazpi City but were both declared dead on arrival.