By Niño N. Luces
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – Ako Bicol Party-list Representative Alfredo “Pido” Garbin, Jr confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the P20 million bounty pledged by President Rodrigo Duterte has been released to witnesses who provided vital details regarding the killing of Congressman Rodel M. Batocabe.
Garbin said among those who have received part of the reward money was Emmanuel Judavar while another recipient were not disclosed by the lawmaker.
“Ni-release na ni Presidente yung P20 million dun sa mga witness. Di ko alam kung papano yung pagpili but definitely the two gunman were not given. Si Yuson at saka si Arimado hindi yun binigyan. Unang binigyan yata si Judavar Emmanuel, yung iba siguro hindi ko na pangalanan kasi di ko kabisado,” Garbin said.
(The President released the P20 million to the witnesses. I don’t know how the selection was made but definitely, the two gunmen were not given. Yuson and Arimado were not given. The one who was given was Judavar Emmanuel, the others, too, but I don’t remember their names.)
Witnesses in the Batocabe slay pointed to incumbent Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the mastermind behind the killing of the party-list congressman and his security escort SPO1 Orlando Diaz last December 22.
On Thursday afternoon, Garbin said Negros Occidental Albee Benitez also turned over the portion of the bounty that was pledge by Batocabe’s colleagues in the House of Representative.
“As to the case of Ako Bicol Party-list bounty and Albay provincial government bounty sabi ng Malacañang and the Congress hindi kami makikialam (we will not meddle). Kung mag-set kayo ng parameters its fine with us kasi inyo naman yan, pera ninyo naman yan (If you set parameters, it’s fine with us because that your money after all),” Garbin narrated.
Garbin said that during the security briefing held on Wednesday afternoon, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde gave the assurance that the case of murder and frustrated murder is “airtight”.
“During the security briefing, unang-una, siniguro ni PNP chief Albayalde na “airtight” yung kaso. All the witnesses are in their costudy. Talagang siniguro niya na ang mga ito ay nagsasabi ng totoo at nagko-coroborate ang lahat ng kanilang testimonya on material points. Ibig sabihin titindig ang kaso sa korte that will lead to the conviction of the mastermind (He made sure that the witnesses were saying the truth and all the testimonies jibed on material points. That means, everything will stand up to scrutiny in court),” Garbin explained.
Even for physical evidence, Garbin noted that until now, the caliber-.40 which was used to kill Batocabe and Diaz has not yet retrieved, but it has the ballistic records in Camp Crame since it was licensed.
“Especially so yung mga physical evidences na sinasabi, yung baril na ginamit na itinapon sa septic tank and was confirmed na andun talaga. Yung baril naman na ginamit ni Yuson na although kinalas niya at itinapon sa ilog, but since the same it is a licensed firearm mayroon yun ballistic records. The ballistic records show that yung nandun sa crime lab, yung ballistic record niya kinunpara dun sa mga slugs na nakuha sa crime scene, nag-match, sabi crime laboratory. So nagda-jive lahat,” the lawmaker told the Manila Bulletin.
BATOCABE FAMILY ASSURES PNP SECURITY
Garbin also narrated that the family of the slain Congressman Batocabe will be assured of PNP security.
Although that since January 13, all police security escorts from Vice Governor down to Councilors has been recalled as they will be used during the election, but Garbin explained there is clear risk assessment to Batocabe family.
On Thursday afternoon, brother of Congressman Rodel Batocabe, Dennis Batocabe announced that the wife of the slain lawmaker, Gertie Duran Batocabe will take-over as mayoralty candidate of Daraga. He said that formal announcement will be held during the 40th day of Congressman Rodel Batocabe.
“Tama, ni-recall yun, pero may mga pending requests tayo and at the same time, maliwanag naman yung risk assesstment ng pamilya Batocabe and Bicol Party-list Representatives. Pero ang sabi niya (PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde), it will always be in the confined of Alunan Doctrine na talagang tigda-dalawa lang talaga. Hindi naman sa exempted, ni-recall but since clear yung risk assessment, nilagyan ulit siya,” Garbin noted.
The town of Daraga has been placed under Comelec control since the other day, and Garbin said that according to Albayalde, the town will totally secured.
“Infact siniguro ni PNP Chief Albayalde na pagdating sa Daraga totally secured nila ang bayan. Especially today na under Comelec control. Sinabi rin niya na bawat activity ng pamilya Batocabe, kahit sino man, si Perete o si Baldo, pag may aktibidad, magpapadala sila ng pulis para walang ng mangyari na untoward incident during the election,” Garbin ended.