By Erwin Beleo
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Peace advocates asked Congress and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to focus on unsolved political killings following the quick resolution of the murder of Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe and his police escort.
A group called ‘Crusaders for Peace’ congratulated PNP for quickly solving Batocabe’s assassination last Dec. 22 in Barangay Burgos, Daraga, Albay.
The group said the resolution of Batocabe’s slay enhanced PNP’s credibility under the leadership of Director General Oscar Albayalde in cracking cases.
Albayade has named Daraga, Albay, Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the mastermind in the killing of Batocabe.
The Crusaders for Peace said the move of Congress to raise the bounty for the resolution of the case proved effective and encouraged netizens to provide helpful information.
“We…urge the leadership of the House of Representatives to apply the same successful strategy in resolving the political killings in La Union and in other parts of the country,” the group said.
La Union residents earlier expressed concern over the series of political killings in the province, starting with the murder of former La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel on May 12 last year.
Eriguel’s death started a string of high-profile killings in the province, with Sudipen town Mayor Alexander Buquing being killed along with his security aide in October, and Balaoan town Vice Mayor Alfred Concepcion in November. Concepcion’s daughter, Mayor Aleli Concepcion, was wounded in the same incident.
Eriguel and his two companions were attacked during a political rally for village officers in Barangay Capas in Agoo town. He had eight gunshot wounds in the head, chest, arm and leg.
It was the second attempt on Eriguel’s life. He survived a bombing incident in April 30, 2016 during the election campaign period that year.
His widow, Rep. Sandra Y. Eriguel, believes that the murder was politically motivated. She said that while the former La Union police officials were relieved as a consequence of the case, the mastermind behind remained at large, and threats and harassments continue from the henchmen of their political rivals.
Former Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque called for the resolution of the murders in La Union and the declaration of the province as an election hotspot.
Roque also cited the need to reform the justice system to prevent the spread of violence in the Philippines.
The Crusaders for Peace said the government should focus its attention on La Union to stop the spread of violence in the province.
“We want to live in a peaceful community. We hate violence. Please stop the killings,” the group said.