Solon to probe Batocabe bounty

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde (center) receives the bag containing P8 million, part of the P13 million reward money donated by members of the House of Representatives in January for informants to the Batocabe murder case. Turning over the money were (from left) former House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez, Alfredo Garbin of Ako Bicol party-list and Albie Benitez. (PTV)

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said Tuesday the P35 million reward money for informants who helped in finding the killers of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe is accounted for.

The CIDG issued the statement Tuesday as a member of the House of Representatives has called for an investigation on the status of the reward money.

“The PNP, specifically the CIDG, is ready to answer any inquiry regarding the disbursement of the bounty intended for the prosecution witnesses in relation to the murder of Honorable Rodel Batocabe,” the CIDG added.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said members of the House of Representatives are asking for transparency and accountability from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

House Minority Leader and Manila 6th District Rep. Benny Abante Jr. also filed a resolution calling for an inquiry on how the reward money was distributed amid complaints by prosecution witnesses that they have yet to receive their share of the reward.

According to the CIDG, the P13 million turned over by the House of Representatives to the office of PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde is still intact and that his role in handling the money “was merely ministerial and definitely he has no hand in the distribution.”

The P20 million pitched in by President Rodrigo Duterte and P2 million coming from the Albay provincial government are also accounted for, the CIDG said.

Batocabe and his police escort Orlando Diaz were gunned down after a gift-giving event in Barangay Burgos in Daraga town on 22 December 2018.

Several weeks prior to his death, Batocabe filed his candidacy for mayor to challenge then incumbent Mayor Carlwyn Baldo and former Vice Mayor Victor Perete, in the mid-term elections in May. Parete is now the Daraga mayor.

Baldo, who allegedly plotted Batocabe’s killing, was charged with double murder and six counts of attempted murder.

In January, Albayalde said he would recommend that the reward be given to Emmanuel Judavar, who gave information pointing to the group that planned and executed the killing and exposed Baldo as the alleged mastermind.

p: wjg