BICOL — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, December 26, added 20 million pesos to the bounty of Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe’s killer, making the reward money reach 50 million pesos.
“May binulong si Senator Go. The reward is at this time is 30 million. I’m raising the ante. I’m putting it at plus 20 to 50. Ang sabihin mo lang, tip lang. Bigyan mo isang tip lang,” the Chief Executive made this announcement in a chance interview with the media while paying his last respects at the wake of the slain legislator.
Rodel Batocabe, 52 years of age, was shot eight times by two gunmen during a gift-giving event for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) on Saturday afternoon, December 22 in Burgos, Daraga town in Albay.
The police are looking at a possible link to politics to the assassination since Batocabe was set to run for the mayoral post in his hometown, Daraga, in the coming midterm elections in 2019.
President Duterte said that based on the initial findings the leads were “very strong” and “almost straight.” However, he also affirmed that at this time, authorities have not pinpointed any suspect yet, but the assault was clearly “politically motivated.”
“So if I say politically motivated, it could be a politician, it could be the mayor, it could [be] the governor or a barangay captain. But my favorite name now is mayor. But I’m not saying who that mayor is,” the President explained.
During the wake visit, the President talked to Batocabe’s widow and children wherein he expressed his deepest condolences. The family also asked President Duterte to help them seek justice for their slain loved one.
President Duterte then ordered the Commission on Election (COMELEC) to place Daraga under their control.
“So para madalian, anyway there’s really lawlessness and ‘yung violent crimes during [the] election, I just called the chairman of the Comelec and recommended to him to place Daraga under Comelec control,” he said.
“Let’s go back to the Alunan doctrine that no candidate should strut around with bodyguards with long firearms. That’s prohibited. Only the police and the military. All others, wala. Except when you are granted a permit to carry by the Comelec. So lahat ‘yan ngayon is Comelec control… the office that has the final say of what to do in the matter of law and order,” he added.
The President reinforced his warning to politicians running for the midterm election to not “terrorize” the poll nor “oppress” and “intimidate” the voters; he then said, “So kung nakinig kayo ngayon, eh kung hindi ikaw, just ignore it. But if you are the one na gumagawa ng kalokohan, pinapatay ‘yung mga kalaban… pupuntahan kita dito. I will personally confront you.”
Apart from the running candidates next year, President Duterte gave similar warning to the members of the New People’s Army (NPA), reiterating to stop “extorting” from politicians during the campaign period.
“Ang NPA, the extortion, so you cause an aberration in the system na ang tao gustong pumunta ng bukid, magkampanya, kasi hindi makapunta kasi hiningian ninyo ng pera,” he cited.
“Allow the people to campaign. Do not pretend to be the protector of people and yet you are milking them dry,” he added.
In spite of his warning against the NPA, the President asked the communist rebels to help the authorities in finding the suspect in Batocabe’s murder case, especially that some investigators are also looking at a possible communist-rebel link to the killing due to the place of the assault.
“Kaya isa nga kayo sa mga suspect, NPA. Pero sabi niyo hindi, ‘di hindi. Eh ngayon kung hindi kayo, sino? Sige daw be. Meron pa man… Magkaibigan man talaga tayo. Kung hindi kayo, sino? Ibigay mo sa akin ‘yung pangalan,” he stressed.
File charges against Iloilo Congressman, Mayor Garin for mauling cop
Meanwhile, President Duterte ordered Department of Interior and Local government to sue Iloilo 1st District Representative Oscar ‘Richard’ Garin Jr. and his father, Guimbal town, Iloilo Mayor Oscar Garin due to allegedly mauling a police officer on Wednesday, December 26.
“Well, kung may kasalanan man ang police, it’s not a reason especially a police officer na bugbugin mo. So I will look in — I just read it from the newspaper. So they will have to file the case. Direct assault,” he said.
“So again, you could file charges. I will ask General Año to take a look bakit nagkaganun, investigate. But I will — I’m not urging him. I’m ordering him to file a case against the two,” he continued. ###PND