By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is determined to prosecute “without delay” a town mayor and his cohorts for their alleged involvement in the murder of a party-list lawmaker.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said they laud the police for the swift conclusion of the investigation on the killing of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, saying it was “a breakthrough in the pursuit of justice for the victims and their families.”
The police earlier identified Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the mastermind behind the murder of Batocabe.
“Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, together with all others tagged as suspects of the aforesaid murder, will have their day in court where they can refute the charges hurled against them,” he said.
“While they too are afforded the Constitutional presumption of innocence and consequently will be accorded due process, the government shall nonetheless prosecute them for the heinous crime without delay,” he added.
Batocabe was gunned down by assailants while he was distributing Christmas gifts in his hometown Daraga, Albay on December 22. President Duterte has denounced the murder of Batocabe and raised the bounty to P50 million for the arrest of the culprits.
Panelo said it was imperative to have mutual cooperation and support between the police and the local community in suppressing and solving crimes. “The early solution of the Batocabe murder is the result of this partnership – and credit should be given to them,” he said.
He also appealed to the public to remain vigilant and help thwart acts of lawlessness in their communities.
“We call on the citizens to be always on the alert and watchful on any activities and/or acts committed by persons which have the appearance of unlawfulness or irregularity amounting to a crime – and report the same to the proper authorities,” he said.