By Martin Sadongdong
Embattled Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo was ordered arrested by the court on Monday afternoon in connection with his alleged participation in the assassination of Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe and his security escort in December 2018 but police failed to arrest him.
Police Colonel Wilson Asueta, chief of Albay Provincial Police Office (PPO), confirmed this report saying that Batocabe was not at his home at Lakandula Drive, Barangay Tagas, Daraga when the arresting team served the warrant around 4 p.m.
“He is now the subject of a manhunt operation,” Asueta told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
Early Monday, Police Brigadier General Arnel Escobal, regional director of Bicol Police Regional Office (PRO-5), said a warrant of arrest against Baldo was issued by Legazpi Regional Trial Court Branch 10 Judge Maria Theresa Loquillano.
However, when the arresting team arrived at Baldo’s residence, he failed to surface.
Baldo’s wife, Romela, was the one who reportedly faced the cops but she said she does not know where her husband was.
She claimed that Baldo may have attended a campaign sortie that’s why he was not at home.
Asueta vowed to exhaust all legal means to find Baldo and bring him back to jail.
Baldo was the pinpointed mastermind behind the murder of Batocabe and Police Senior Master Sergeant Orlando Diaz in a gift-giving activity at Brgy. Poblacion, Daraga on December 22, 2018.
The killing occurred days after Batocabe announced in public that he would challenge Baldo for the mayoralty post of Daraga in the upcoming May 13 midterm elections.
Baldo along with six other members of a hit squad he allegedly formed is facing double murder charges for Batocabe and Diaz’ death. All members of the hit squad pointed to Baldo as the brains behind the assassination plot.
Batocabe was first arrested on January 22, 2019, in a raid conducted by joint police forces in his house.
Cops found unlicensed firearms in his house during the raid.
However, he was hospitalized the same day of his arrest after he complained of experiencing difficulty in breathing.
He was later released in February after paying a P3-million bail.