By Jeffrey Damicog
A Legaspi City court has issued an order preventing Mayor Carlwyn Baldo of Daraga, Albay from the possibility of fleeing the country, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Friday.
“We received word that the Regional Trial Court at Legazpi City has issued a Precautionary Hold Departure Order (PHDO) against Mayor Carlwyn Baldo in relation to the Batocabe case,” said DOJ spokesman Undersecretary Mark Perete.
Perete explained the court acted on the application for PHDO filed by the acting Provincial Prosecutor of Albay last January 7 against Baldo and five other persons involved in the killing of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
Batocabe and his police escort, SPO2 Orlando Diaz, were gunned down during a gift-giving event for the elderly and persons with disability in Daraga town last December 22.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde said that cases of double murder and six counts of frustrated murder were filed against Baldo before the Albay Prosecutor’s Office.
The PNP filed the complaint after several persons involved in the slay surrendered to police and identified Baldo as the mastermind.
While the case is still undergoing preliminary investigation at the Albay Prosecutor’s Office, prosecutors handling the case may ask a court to issue a PHDO.
On the other hand, a court can only issue a Hold Departure Order (HDO) only after charges have been filed in court against Baldo.
Just last Tuesday, Baldo and his security escort were arrested at his home in Daraga for possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition by operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The arrest was made while policemen were enforcing two search warrants on Baldo’s house on Lakandula Drive, Barangay Tagas, Daraga, Albay, for unlicensed guns.
Found at Baldo’s house were two unlicensed caliber .45 pistols, a magazine for an Uzi machine pistol loaded with seven bullets, an ammunition for M203 grenade launcher, eight ammunition for caliber .45 pistol, and one ammunition for an M16 rifle.
Police also seized a white Isuzu Alterra with license plate BCW 941 which was among the subjects of the search warrant.
Police said the Isuzu was one of the vehicles allegedly used by the suspects in carrying out the hit job.