MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he is adding P20 million to the bounty for the killers of AKO Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe, bringing the total reward money to P50 million.
Duterte made the announcement as he visited the wake of the slain congressman at the Bicol University on Wednesday night, December 26. He personally expressed his condolences to Batocabe’s family.
The President also said he won’t condone what he referred to as “political terrorism.”
Then, referring to a politician in Albay suspected of having to do with Batocabe’s murder, Duterte said: “Pupuntahan kita, I will personally confront you. If I’m not satisfied, sasampalin kita. ‘Pag may ebidensiya, kakaladkarin kita.” (I’ll go to you, I will personally confront you. If I’m not satisfied, I’ll slap you. If there’s evidence, I’ll drag you.)
Batocabe was assassinated in broad daylight on December 22, shortly after finishing a gift-giving ceremony for senior citizens. Gunmen shot him 4 times at the back as he was waiting to be fetched by his driver. (IN PHOTOS: Batocabe murder crime scene)
His security escort, Senior Police Officer I Orlando Diaz, was also killed.
Malacañang vowed it will leave no stone unturned in the investigation.
The Philippine National Police is leading the probe through a special investigation task group.
The first case of a congressman shot dead under Duterte’s watch, Batocabe’s murder was condemned by politicians. His former colleagues at the House of Representatives raised at least P30 million as prize money for anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of the killers.
His family and colleagues believe local politics may have been the motive behind the killing.
Police are also looking into the possible involvement of the New People’s Army, although the rebels already denied they had anything to do with it.
Killed at 52, Batocabe is survived by his wife, Gertie, and their two sons. – Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com