What happened to reward money to nail Batocabe’s killers? House colleagues ask
LEGAZPI CITY --- Ako Bicol (AKB) Party List Rep. Alfredo Garbin on Saturday said the House of Representatives would ask General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police (PNP) director general , to submit an accounting on the P35M bounty raised for the capture of the mastermind and killers of AKB Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
Garbin said there was clamor from members of the House of Representatives to have an accounting of the P13M they gave as share in raising the reward money to pin down Batocabe’s killer and mastermind.
Garbin in an interview said a total of P35M was eventually raised which included: P20M from Pres. Duterte; P13M from members of the 17th Congress, and; P2M from Albay provincial government.
The AKB party was able to pledge P15M but according to Garbin the funds would be used to cover expenses for litigation and private prosecution lawyers handling the case.
“As a matter of transparency and accountability, we would ask Albayalde before his retirement to submit to Congress a report where the money was used,” Garbin said.
“The contributions came from their the pockets of Congressmen who were close to Rodel and wanted a fast resolution of the case,” he said.
When asked if the call for an accounting from Albayalde was in relation to alleged reports that several key witnesses against former Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, the alleged mastermind to the Batocabe murder a case, have retracted their earlier testimonies due to the alleged failure to receive the reward money they were promised, Garbin said “he cannot confirm nor deny the report but the matter is being looked into.”
Batocabe after ending his term as Congressman has decided to run for the mayoral post of Daraga town challenging incumbent mayor Baldo and vice mayor Victor Pirete, where the latter eventually bacem the winner.
Batocabe and his police escort were gunned down while giving away Christmas gifts to the town’s senior citizens in Barangay Burgos on December 22 last year.
As this developed, Baldo, the alleged mastermind, was out on bail after paying P8.72M surety bond for his temporary liberty.
Baldo was detained since May 10 this year and was temporarily released last Sept. 9 this year.
Baldo denied the murder charge against him saying he was made a “convenient scapegoat.”
The case is being heard at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 under presiding Judge Maria Theresa San Juan Loquillano who on Aug. 27 ruled granting Baldo’s petition for bail after she found that the evidence presented was not strong enough to deny the accused’s motion to bail.
In a 14-page decision, Loquilano cited at least seven premises that granted Baldo’s petition to post bail.
The judge clarified in her ruling that what the court is resolving pertains only to Baldo’s petition to post bail, saying “this is but a preliminary matter and should not be considered by anyone as conclusive, or as a bar, that would prevent the court from making a final assessment of the evidence of the parties after a full-blown trial,” she added.
Baldo will face arraignment in October this year.