The two remaining suspects in the twin murder of Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and security escort SP01 Orlando Diaz
on Dec. 22 surrendered separately to police in Masbate and Bicol Saturday, hours after self-confessed gunman Henry Yuson
linked Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo into the killings
following his surrender.
READ: Daraga mayor rejects politics in solon’s slay
This brings the number of six prime suspects now in police custody.
Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde said suspects Rolando Arimado, alias RR, yielded in Masbate at 7 a.m. Saturday while Danilo Muella, alias Manoy Dan, surrendered past midnight on the same day.
“This latest development is expected to complete the puzzle in uncovering the truth behind this double murder and multiple frustrated murder case,” the PNP chief said in a statement.
Arimado, a rebel-returnee, was tagged as look-out and back-up gunman in the assassination.
Muella, another trusted security aide of Baldo, surrendered to the Regional Intelligence Office 5 at 1 a.m. Saturday.
He was identified as the suspect who purchased two cal.45 pistols used in the murder.
Aside from Arimado and Muella, four other suspects are in police custody—Christopher Naval alias Tuping, Emmanuel Rosello alias Boboy, Henry Yuson alias Romel, and Jaywin Babor alias Gie.
A key witness, Emmanuel Bonita Judavar, has also provided investigators with what investigators described as relevant information regarding the case from planning to execution stages.
Albayalde noted that only one among the seven indicted suspects had yet to surrender, Baldo, tagged as the mastermind who allegedly contracted the services of the gunmen in September 2018 to assassinate Batocabe.
A witness in the investigation of the slay claimed Baldo was anxious he might not win the mayoral elections in May against the congressman.
According to Mariz Umali’s report on “State of the Nation with Jessica Soho” which was beamed nationwide, Emmanuel Judavar, reportedly part of the planning of the slay, was now considered a witness in the case.
In a related development:
• A lawmaker from the Visayas on Saturday lauded the PNP under Albayalde for the prompt investigation and resolution of the murder.
But Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento noted that this case should stand legal scrutiny when cases had been finally filed against the alleged mastermind and his accomplices.
“We want justice for Congressman Batocabe. We appreciate the swift action of the PNP in solving this case but the next thing to do now is make sure that the mastermind and his cohorts should be arrested and convicted. We’ve seen so many cases that were eventually dismissed because the evidence presented by the police was not good enough,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento said Baldo had denied any involvement in the killing and would definitely challenge the PNP’s allegations once the case was filed in court.
This, as the PNP should ensure that it has all the necessary evidence for the swift and proper prosecution of all alleged suspects, Sarmiento said, adding the suspects should be immediately arrested and brought to court.
“Anything short is not justice. The PNP must make sure that the perpetrator of this dastardly act is immediately arrested and convicted. It must not make any room that would allow the mastermind and his minions to post bail because the case is weak,” Sarmiento said.
Albayalde said Arimado was shuttled to the Bicol mainland after he turned himself into the police in Masbate.
He was then taken into custody under heavy guard by operatives of Albay and Masbate Police Provincial Office after negotiation through his wife and son.
Muella, on the other hand, surrendered to the Regional Intelligence Office-5 at about 1 a.m. Saturday.
Albayalde provided no specific details on the testimonies of Arimado and Muella to investigators surrounding the circumstances behind the murder.
Instead, Albayalde said, “This latest development is expected to complete the puzzle in uncovering the truth behind this double murder and multiple frustrated murder case.”
In his expose, Judavar told investigators he was part of the group that planned the initial stages in the killing of Batocabe in August 2018, but he backed out when execution time came.
Christopher Naval, alias Tuping, a trusted security aide of Baldo followed through, claiming the mayor offered P5 million for the job to kill Batocabe in September 2018 and paid an initial P250,000 intended for the purchase of guns and motorcycles.
A day thereafter, Emmanuel Rosello, alias Boboy, Jaywin Babor and lately Henry Juson surfaced and made vital disclosure on the circumstances behind the kill plot.
Yuson unleashed an earthshaking disclosure when he accused Baldo as the one who ordered him to kill Batocabe.
While the PNP has named Baldo as the mastermind, Sarmiento said police had yet to arrest the suspect.
He said the PNP should act quickly in filing a case against Baldo and ensure that their case could stand any legal scrutiny.
Sarmiento said any delay in Baldo’s indictment while the media were feasting on this issue could muddle the integrity of the case.
“Real police work requires solid police investigation and evidence gathering because in the end, the court will decide on the basis of the evidence presented to them,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento added that the case of Batocabe would hopefully prompt the PNP to revisit other unsolved murder cases involving other political personalities.
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