By Chito Chavez and Martin Sadongdong
The National Police Commission (Napolcom) on Tuesday said it has now ordered the withdrawal of the deputation Mayor Carlwyn Baldo of Daraga, Albay, as Napolcom representative and the suspension of his police power after he was tagged as the alleged mastermind in the assassination of AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
The Napolcom en banc, headed by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año, issued Resolution No. 2019-014 which approved the withdrawal of the deputation of Baldo.
Año also cited the Philippine National Police (PNP) for solving the case in record time, with Baldo identified as the alleged principal suspect behind the assassination of Batocabe and the death of his protective security, SPO2 Orlando Diaz.
Earlier, the Napolcom withdrew the deputation of Guimbal, Iloilo Mayor Oscar Garin and likewise suspended his police power after investigation revealed he pointed a gun at Police Officer 3 Federico Macaya without valid and legal justification while his son – Iloilo Rep. Richard Garin – was allegedly mauling the embattled police officer at about 3:30 a.m. on December 26, 2018, at the Guimbal Public Plaza.
During the December 22, 2018, shooting of Batocabe, seven other bystanders who were on hand to witness the gift-giving activity for senior citizens of the slain congressman at Barangay Burgos, Daraga, Albay, were wounded.
Based on the pieces of evidence gathered and the statements of the suspects now in police custody, Baldo was pinpointed as the alleged mastermind of the killing of Batocabe.
The PNP said Baldo allegedly hired six gun-for-hire members in gunning down Batocabe who will be running against him in the May, 2019, mid-term elections.
Napolcom Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Rogelio T. Casurao said that Baldo violated three of the four grounds for the withdrawal of the Napolcom deputation of local chief executives (LCEs): abuse of authority, providing material support to criminal elements, and engaging in acts inimical to national security or which negate the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign.
“Baldo committed abuse of authority for the employment of confidential staff under fictitious names which is a blatant disregard of existing rules and regulations. His act of utilizing a private armed group in contract killing as a gun for hire syndicate is clearly an act of providing material support to criminal elements, with the same likewise constituting engagement in an act which negates the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign,” Casurao said.
The removal of the deputation power of Baldo was approved pursuant to the provisions of Section 65 of R.A. 8551 (PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998) and Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 99-010, as amended by MC 2001-003, which prescribes the guidelines in the exercise of delegated powers of LCEs over the local police units as Napolcom Deputies, and the procedures on the suspension/withdrawal and restoration of such deputation.
“The Napolcom also ordered the suspension of the duties, obligations, powers and prerogatives vested upon Mayor Baldo as deputized Napolcom representative,” he added.
Under Section 51 (b) of R.A. 6975 (PNP Law) and Section 64 of R.A. 8551, LCEs are empowered to inspect police forces and units, conduct audit and exercise other functions as may be authorized by the commission.
Earlier slay plot
Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Amador Corpus, director of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said that prior to the assassination of Batocabe, Baldo had allegedly planned the killing of the town’s former mayor.
Corpus said Baldo, then the town vice mayor, allegedly ordered the killing of former Daraga Mayor Gerry Jaucian early last year.
“Pinlano rin ni Mayor Baldo si Mayor Jaucian before June, 2018, in the amount of P350,000. Same people but hindi natuloy dahil the mayor died of illness sometime in 2018 (Mayor Baldo also planned [to kill] Mayor Jaucian before June 2018 in the amount of P350,000. [He used the] same people but the plan did not push through because the mayor died of illness sometime in 2018),” Corpus said.
The CIDG chief said the information was stated in the affidavit of witness Emmanuel Judavar, who was initially included in the Batocabe hit job but backed out at the last minute.
After Mayor Jaucian’s death, Baldo then became the mayor based on the rules of succession.
In August, 2018, Batocabe announced in public his bid for the mayoral post of Daraga so Baldo allegedly hatched the assassination plot against him.
Eventually, Batocabe was killed on December 22, 2018 along with Diaz.