DARAGA, Albay --- Clad in black jacket and denim pants, murder suspect Mayor Carlwyn Baldo of this town got himself into more trouble as police operatives handcuffed him inside his parents’ house in Barangay Tagas here Tuesday for possession of deadly weapons, such as M203 grenade and M16 ammunitions, among others.
Baldo’s arrest came exactly after a month when Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his escort SP02 Orlando Diaz were killed last December 22, 2018 while the lawmaker was giving away Christmas gifts to the town’s senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) at the covered court of Burgos Elementary School here.
Baldo’s arrest was conducted on the strength of a search warrant issued on January 22 by Judge Elmer M. Lanuzo, Executive Judge of Regional Trial Court 5th Judicial Region in Legazpi City.
Composite members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) led by Senior Supt. Arnold Ardiente and Albay Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Nelson Ascueta.
Members of Mayor Baldo’s arrest was witnessed by members of his family and in the presence of Barangay Chairman Warren M. Bahillo and Barangay Councilor Zenaida T. Lovino, both of Barangay Tagas, Daraga town.
Recovered from Baldo’s residence were one caliber 45 pistol with TM Colt MK IV with SN 924173; one cal 45 Pistol with TM Govt Model Colt with SN 517381 loaded with one live ammo; one magazine assy for Uzi Machine Pistol loaded with 7 live ammos for cal 45; one ammunition for grenade launcher M203; and 8 live ammos for cal 45 and 1 live ammos for M16 cal.
The police actually served two search warrants at around 2:30 p.m. of Tuesday forillegal possession of firearms and recovery of a suspected get-away vehicle.
The confiscated Isuzu Alterra vehicle, allegedly owned by the mayor, was believed used as getaway vehicle by the killers of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police escort SPO2 Orlando Diaz one month ago.
Senior Supt. Ascuet said after the arrest that Baldo is now facing a non-bailable offense for having in possession of the powerful deadly weapons.
Baldo was brought to the CIDG office at Camp General Simeon A. Ola in Legazpi City for further investigation and documentation.
Last Friday, before his arrest, Mayor Baldo presided over a press conference inside his home where he revealed that he received information that a search warrant would be issued against him on that date which did not happen.
He said he invited the presence of newsmen so that arresting officers may not have chance to plant evidence against him, such as deadly weapons like grenade, possession of which, especially at this election period, is a non-bailable offense.
Baldo told the newsmen that he would freely allow the CIDG operatives to do the search because he had none of the illegal weapons in his possession.
“Our door is open; I’m not hiding any illegal material in our residence. I hope that no planted materials will be done against me,” Baldo said in that earlier press briefing held inside his residence last January 18.
The embattled town mayor had asked President Rodrigo Duterte for fair justice and security for his after he was tagged as the mastermind in the killing of Rep. Batocabe and his escort.
Before his arrest last Tuesday, Baldo was facing two counts of murder charges and eight more for multiple frustrated murders before the provincial prosecution office here.
The suspect’s mugshots were released few hours after his arrest.
The town mayor, as the alleged mastermind of Batocabe’s killing, is the last prime suspect to have been taken into police custody on Tuesday here. The six others, who were identified as behind the actual killing as hired guns were earlier arrested and locked behind bars a few weeks after the twin killings of Batocable and his police escort, SP02 Orlando Diaz.
Baldo and Batocabe were supposed to be rivals in the race for Daraga town mayorship in the upcoming May 13 elections. Incumbent Vice Mayor Victor Perete also filed his certificate of candidacy as the third mayoral candidate.
With Baldo now in jail for non-bailable offense, Vice Mayor Perete is expected to take over Baldo’s seat temporarily or for good until the local election is over.