MANILA, Philippines – Albay province’s police chief has been replaced by one of his deputies, following the murder of AKO Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe.
Police Senior Superintendent Milo Bella Pagtalunan’s designation as Albay’s top cop was terminated on Sunday, December 23, upon orders of the Philippine National Police’s Regional Director for Region V (Bicol), Police Chief Supertintendent Arnel Escobal.
The order took effect on the same day.
Pagtalunan’s function was assigned to Albay police deputy director for administration Police Superintendent Dennia Reduta Rellata, who was designated officer-in-charge.
Pagtalunan was reassigned to the Regional Holding and Accounting Unit of PNP Bicol regional office.
The shake-up comes days after the PNP leadership sacked the police chief of Daraga, the town where Batocabe was killed.
Batocabe, the first congressman to be murdered during the Duterte administraton, was shot in broad daylight by two unidentified gunmen in a waiting shed right after attending a gift-giving program for senior citizens. His bodyguard, SPO1 Orlando Diaz, was also killed. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Batocabe murder crime scene)
Batocabe, who succumbed to 8 gunshot wounds, was running for mayor of Daraga town.
Authorities are still investigating the motives of the killers. But Batocabe’s widow and some lawmakers believe his political foes were behind the killing.
The Batocabe family said they “will think hard and well” for his replacement in the mayoralty race.
Malacañang and and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have condemned his murder. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com