LEGAZPI CITY --- Lawyer Justine Batocabe, the youthful son of slain Ako Bicol Party List (AKB) Rep. Rodel Batocabe said on Friday that he welcomes the filing of a resolution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Regional Panel of Prosecutors indicting Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo and five other suspects with two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder.
The younger Batocabe in an interview said: “The wheel of justice is moving as I am thankful for the government prosecutors for finding probable cause and charging with murder and attempted murder those responsible in the killing of my father and his police escort.”
Batocabe said the DOJ regional panel of prosecutors has found enough evidence to pin down the suspects and file the resolution asking the court to issue an arrest warrant with no recommended bail for Baldo and five others.
Batocabe said the ball is now in the hands of the court for evaluation to whether or not uphold the DOJ resolution.
Once the court decides positively on the resolution, an arrest warrant may immediately be issued against Baldo who was tagged as the alleged mastermind of the assassination plot against Batocabe last Dec. 22.
As this developed, AKB Rep. Alfredo Garbin, when asked for comment, said finding probable cause on two counts of murder and six attempted murder is just a first step towards bringing justice to his colleague Rodel and Police Officer Diaz.
“Foremost, we need the active participation of the key witness during the trial and we expect a fair and impartial trial from the competent court which should start by issuing a warrant of arrest against all the accused since this is a non-bailable offense,” he said.
Baldo’s family chose not to give an official statement on the case even as they are leaving the matter to their legal team.
The DOJ regional panel of prosecutors led by provincial prosecutor Richard Cu has filed on March 29 this year murder and attempted murder charges against Daraga Mayor Baldo and Danilo Muella as an accomplice to the double murder while five others for attempted murder for the killing of Batocabe and his police escort.
Batocabe and Police Master Sergeant Orlando Diaz, his police escort, were killed while giving away Christmas gifts in Barangay Burgos, a remote village in Daraga town on December 22, last year.
Aside from Baldo, facing double murder and six attempted murder charges are Christopher Naval alias Tuping, Emmanuel Rosello alias Boboy, Jaymin Babor alias Gie, Henry Yuson alias Rommel, and Rolando Arimado alias Lando.
All the suspects are currently detained at the custodial facility of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) here.
The complaint against Ramon Marbella, one of the suspects, however, was dismissed for lack of probable cause.
The DOJ resolution reportedly has been submitted to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Legazpi City for court raffle procedure.