Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe wasn’t the only one on Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo’s death note, according to a Philippine National Police (PNP) official, who added he allegedly planned the assassination of then Daraga mayor Gerry Jaucian.
“He wanted to be the mayor (of Daraga) in the fastest means possible, so he planned to kill Jaucian. However, Jaucian died so he became the mayor of Daraga,” said Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, chief of PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
“He planned (to kill) Mayor Jaucian. It just so happened that he died (before Baldo’s plan was executed),” Corpus added.
According to Emmanuel Judivar, witness to the Batocabe murder case, Baldo offered a hitman group to assassinate Jaucian for P350,000, but failed as their target died on 4 May 2018 due to lung cancer.
Judavar, according to his testimonies, was allegedly part of the planning phase on the Batocabe slay, but backed out at the last minute.
Batocabe and his police escort was killed on 22 December 2018 on a gift-giving event in Daraga, Albay. He was killed on the date of his wedding anniversary.
A positive crossmatching of the bullet shells recovered from the crime scene and the .40 caliber firearm registered under the name of self-confessed gunman Henry Yuson has bolstered the case of the PNP on the killing of Batocabe.
At a press briefing yesterday, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said 11 empty shells and five slugs recovered matched the .40 caliber pistol licensed to Yuson, who admitted using the gun in shooting Batocabe.
“It’s positive, according to the findings of the Crime Laboratory, so that will now boost our case,” Albayalde said.
The crossmatching was done after Yuson surrendered his firearms license to the PNP.
Last Friday, Yuson publicly admitted that he had killed Batocabe upon the orders of Baldo, tagged as the “brains” behind the killing, for a fee.
The PNP has already filed double murder and multiple frustrated homicide cases against Baldo and six others, including Yuson.
All six suspects in the Batocabe killing are now under police custody and have all pointed to Baldo as the mastermind.
The PNP is still awaiting court disposition over Baldo.
Apart from Yuson, now under custody are Rolando Arimado, another gunman; Christopher Naval, said to be a close aide of Baldo; Danilo Muella, responsible for buying the two .45 caliber pistols used in the killing; and Emmanuel Rosello and Jaywin Babor, drivers of the getaway motorcycles.
All allegedly serve as confidential staff of Baldo, receiving monthly allowances from the municipality.
The six either surrendered or were arrested after witness Emmanuel Jadavar came to the police and provided vital information regarding the plot to kill Batocabe hatched in August last year when Batocabe publicly announced his intention to run for Daraga mayor.
Dropped from roster
As the resolution of the murder case nears its climax, the brother of the slain lawmaker has offered the view that the possible negative effect on the image of political party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) was what led to the expulsion of Baldo from its roster as official candidate for the local chief executive seat in the May 2019 elections.
Dennis Batocabe, in a statement, added those running for an elective post without the backing of a party will have a harder time during the elections, but the move was well within the rights of said political party.
Lakas-CMD on Sunday announced it had revoked the Certification of Nomination and Acceptance (CoNA) for Baldo after he was identified by the alleged gunman Yuson as the alleged mastermind in the killings of Batocabe and his bodyguard Senior Police Officer 1 Orlando Diaz on 22 December 2018.
The lawmaker’s brother said the grieving family has not yet reached a final decision on who will take Rodel’s place as candidate for mayor of Daraga, but noted that either he or Rodel’s wife, Gertie, may run for the post.
Dennis believes the latter should be the one to do so.
Meanwhile, the accused Daraga mayor will likely run independently in the midterm elections if he agrees to his party’s move revoking his CoNA, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.
According to Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, Baldo will end up running as an independent candidate, but he has to agree on the withdrawal of the CoNA issued by Lakas-CMD Party.
“Under the rules, the withdrawal of the CoNA must have the consent of the nominated individual. We (in the Comelec) have to get his (Baldo’s) take on this,” Jimenez explained.
The poll official noted that if Baldo decides not to agree with the party’s decision, he and Lakas-CMD will have to justify their respective positions before the Comelec.
Thereupon, if Baldo does not agree, it will be resolved by the Comelec.
“This has happened before and it is common occurrence, but it did not reach this level of prominence,” the Comelec spokesman said.
With reports from Mario Mallari, Elmer N. Manuel and Raymart T. Lolo