Batocabe murder crime scene | Photo courtesy of Daraga MPS
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Two suspects in the killing of Ako Bicol Party list representative Rodel Batocabe have surrendered and are now under the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The two suspects were turned into witnesses for the information they know about the crime and according to Pnp Spokesperson PCSupt. Benigno Durana Jr., they are now being investigated.
“Ini-interview sila ngayon. Let’s see if out of these witnesses we can get suspects. Ongoing ang investigation,” Durana confirmed.
Durana said the testimony of the witnesses will help the authorities identify the rest of the suspects and hopefully the mastermind behind the crime.
“Their testimonies can shed light into the case and that it may or may not give us a positive lead that will lead us to the perpetrators including the mastermind,” Durana said.
A source told UNTV that the two suspects-turned-witnesses were former soldiers.
One of them was involved in the planning of Batocabe’s assassination while the other one was responsible for scouting potential gunmen.
According to the source, the two witnesses identified an Albay politician as the mastermind in the crime and the one who provided cash and motorcycles as getaway vehicles for the suspects.
They added that the politician’s personal driver was among those who helped the gunmen escape.
The two witnesses also revealed that said politician-mastermind offered P3 million pesos to the suspects to execute the killing of Cong. Batocabe.
Until now, they said, the mastermind has not yet paid them.
The two suspects-turned-witnesses surrendered as they wanted the P50 million pesos reward money.
Their decision was also out of fear for their safety.
The PNP and the Batocabe family, meanwhile, are set to file formal charges of murder and frustrated murder against the remaining six to eight suspects linked to the assassination of Rep. Batocabe. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)