Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday led the turnover of P8 million to the Philippine National Police to complete the House of Representatives’ P13-million contribution to the bounty for the killers of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his security aide.
Earlier, the House turned over P5 million generated from the salaries of lawmakers upon the initiative of Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez. A total of P50 million in reward money
was raised that included P20 million from President Rodrigo Duterte, P15 million from the Ako Bicol party-list group, and P2 million from the provincial government of Albay.
Batocabe, a mayoralty candidate in Dagara town in Albay, and his police escort SPO1 Orlando Diaz were killed on Dec. 22 while they were leaving a gift-giving event in Barangay Burgos in Daraga.
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The PNP has filed double murder and frustrated murder charges against Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo and his alleged cohorts in Albay.
Police on Wednesday said they found the .45 caliber pistol that jammed on the gunman, Henry Yuson, in a fishpond in the town of Ligao, Albay. When the weapon jammed, Yuson used his .40 caliber firearm to kill Batocabe and Diaz, police said, adding that another suspect, Christopher Naval, later threw the jammed pistol into a fishpond.
Aside from the murder and frustrated murder charges, Baldo is also facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Baldo was taken to the University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Legazpi City Wednesday for “hyperventilation” hours after his arrest and detention, police said.
Baldo has maintained his innocence and denies ordering Batocabe’s assassination.
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