A photograph of Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo is now facing charges of double murder and six counts of frustrated murder along with six other suspects for being the mastermind in the high-profile murder of Ako Bicol Party list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police aide, SPO1 Orlando Diaz.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief DG Oscar Albayalde confirmed on Thursday (January 3) that Mayor Baldo was the man behind the crime according to the testimonies of two suspects-turned-witnesses who are in their custody.
“Itong mga ito are all under the payroll of the mayor as personal staff using fictitious names. This one is a rebel returnee and all the rest are rebel returnees and CAFGU (members) and all the rest are ex-military personnel,” Albayalde said.
Based on witnesses’ accounts, it was Mayor Baldo who financed the gunmen’s firearms and getaway vehicles.
First to surface was Emmanuel Judavar who confessed his participation in the planning of the assassination of Congressman Batocabe. He, however, decided to withdraw from the plan before it is was executed. Judavar was among the two whom the PNP turned into witnesses.
Following Judavar was the second suspect-turned-witness, Christopher Naval alias ‘Tuping’, a trusted aide of Mayor Baldo, also surrendered and confessed that Mayor Baldo offered P5 million in exchange for the lawmaker’s assassination.
Naval confirmed that the Mayor gave them P250,000 to purchase a gun and a motorcycle.
After Judavar and Naval came Emmanuel Rosello alias ‘Boboy’ who also surrendered.
Rosello served as a driver of one of the getaway vehicles.
Meanwhile, the rest of the gunmen are still at large.
They have been identified as Henry Yuson alias ‘Romel’; a certain ‘Eno’; Rolando Arimado; and back-up drivers Jaywin Babor and Danilo Muella.
Albayalde said the group’s first attempt to assassinate Cong. Batocabe was in August when the lawmaker announced his bid for the local mayoralty race.
“Noong August na iyon ang plan, doon dapat sa pinupuntahan niyang radio station na naging pattern na ni dating Congressman Batocabe,” Albayalde revealed.
With this development, Albayalde ordered the cancellation of the Mayor Baldo’s License to Own and Possess Firearm (LTOPF) and Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR) and he was stripped of his police powers.
The PNP Chief also requested the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to place Mayor Baldo and the six suspects on the BI’s lookout bulletin.
Also, charges of double murder and six counts of frustrated murder have already been filed against Mayor Baldo and the six other suspects. The PNP is now awaiting the release of a warrant of arrest against them.
“We will follow what the court will say. Kung bigyan tayo ng outright na warrant of arrest, we will serve the warrant of arrest immediately,” the PNP Chief said.
Meanwhile, Cong. Batocabe’s eldest son, Atty. Justin and the rest of the Batocabe family are grateful for the efforts of the PNP on the immediate resolution of the case.
“I praise the hard work of our fine men and women in uniform. The holidays has been very hard for us and the town of Daraga as well as the province of Albay. These fruits of hard labor of our investigative bodies are very much welcome and we have nothing to say but thank you. Thank you very much,” the relieved son said.
The PNP, however, cannot consider the case as closed, according to Albayalde.
“This case, we consider it solved but not closed because some of the suspects are not yet to be arrested,” Albayalde concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)