Daraga mayor ‘offered’ P5 million for Batocabe’s life

Rambo Talabong
Daraga mayor ‘offered’ P5 million for Batocabe’s life
(UPDATED) Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo supposedly failed to pay the entire amount, frustrating some of the alleged hitmen

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, the alleged mastermind in the killing of AKO Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe and his bodyguard SPO1 Orlando Diaz, supposedly offered P5 million to the hitmen, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Mayor Baldo allegedly offered P5 million for the hit job on Batocabe sometime in September 2018 and paid an initial amount of P250,000 to Tuping and his group for the purchase of guns and motorcycles,” PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said in a Camp Crame press conference on Thursday, January 3.

Albayalde was referring to Christopher “Tuping” Naval, a discharged Philippine Army man in Bicol who is one of the suspects.

Naval, supposedly a “trusted” security aide of Baldo, told police that a 6-man team was formed for Batocabe’s assassination.

Another member of the team, Emmanuel Judavar, has also provided information to the police. He participated in the planning of the murder, but backed out in its execution.

Judavar is not considered a suspect now. He is cited as a witness in the double murder and frustrated murder complaints against Baldo and the others.

Why did Judavar speak to cops? There was allegedly a problem with the money.

“Hindi niya gusto ang patakaran (He did not like how they were managed),” said Chief Superintendent Amador Corpuz, director of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, during the briefing.

Asked to expound, Albayalde said Judavar was disgruntled by Baldo’s supposed failure to pay the team the entire P5 million. Baldo allegedly paid only an initial amount of P250,000, but was not able to hand over the remaining balance.

“Until ngayon naman allegedly hindi pa rin natutupad. Hindi sila tumupad, allegedly…’yung 5 million (Until now they haven’t been paid. The mayor’s camp allegedly did not keep their end of the bargain…the P5 million),” Albayalde said in a chance interview after the briefing.

Is it because of the P50-million reward? Police could not say. The PNP is also uncertain how this money will be distributed following the latest developments.

Who are the other suspects?

  1. Henry Yuson, alias “Romel/Eno”- former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel who was tagged as the one who shot Batocabe allegedly with a .40 caliber pistol
  2. Rolando Arimado, alias “RR” – also a former NPA rebel who allegedly shot both Batocabe and Diaz
  3. Emmanuel Rosello, alias Boboy – a former militia member who allegedly drove a getaway motorcycle
  4. Jaywin Babor, alias “Jie” – a former soldier who was the driver of another getaway motorcycle
  5. Danilo Muella, alias “Manoy Dan” – he allegedly purchased the guns for the operation

Rosello was arrested in Daraga early Thursday morning. He is already in the custody of the police, along with Naval and Judavar. The rest, including the Daraga mayor, are still at large.

Baldo earlier vowed that justice would be served for Batocabe. – Rappler.com

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Naval is considered a witness in the Batocabe murder case. This has been corrected to say that Naval is one of the suspects, while Judavar is the witness.

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.