Batocabe murder: Albay gov’t, AKO Bicol offer P15 M reward for arrests
ALBAY, Philippines (UPDATED) – The provincial government of Albay and AKO Bicol party-list group are offering a total reward of P15 million for any information that will lead to the arrest of the mastermind and accomplices in the murder of congressman Rodel Batocabe.
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara and AKO Bicol Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr announced this on Sunday, December 23, in a press conference with other elected officials from the Bicol region.
The P15 million bounty is separate from the reward being raised by the House of Representatives through donations from its members which, as of Saturday night, had reached P3 million.
Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Alfredo Benitez, leader of the Visayan bloc who initiated raising the reward money from the House, said Saturday night over 100 lawmakers had committed to donating money.
The combined reward money from Albay, AKO Bicol, and the House is expected to amount to P25 million to P30 million, Garbin said during the press con on Sunday.
Batocabe, who was on his final term as AKO Bicol representative in Congress, was running for mayor of Daraga, Albay, when he was slain right after a Christmas gift-giving activity with senior citizens and persons with disabilities in his home town Saturday afternoon, December 22. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Batocabe murder crime scene)
Batocabe’s family and other lawmakers are certain his political foes were behind his murder.
Batocabe's wake in Daraga
Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo went to Batocabe's wake Sunday morning, one of first public figures to do so.
In a chance interview with reporters, she reiterated her call for the authorities to "conduct a thorough and speedy investigation."
She said "about 150 congressmen have already committed to put up a fund to get the killers. That really is the best way to get the killers."
Arroyo remembered Batocabe as a congressman who "certainly did his part" during his 3 terms. "He was very very active in the hearings. Very tough interrogator and also a very tough debater," she said. – with a report from Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler.com
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