MANILA, Philippines – Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo was charged with murder over the killing of AKO Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed on Thursday, April 4.
Guevarra told Rappler in a text message that the charges were filed on Thursday before the Legazpi City Regional Trial Court (RTC). A copy of the prosecutors’ resolution was not immediately released.
Guevarra added that Baldo was also charged with attempted murder since several others were injured in the attack on Batocabe.
Baldo was earlier barred from traveling outside the country.
Police had arrested Baldo on January 22 over the unrelated case of illegal possession of firearms. He was rushed to the hospital that same night for asthma and remained confined under police custody until his release in February.
He was released on P3-million bail back then by Legazpi RTC Branch 10 Presiding Judge Theresa San Juan Loquillano, then immediately went back to work.
The murder charges are set to be raffled within the Legazpi RTC, after which the judge will decide whether there is probable cause to order the arrest of Baldo for murder, a non-bailable case.
Batocabe and his police escort Orlando Diaz were shot dead last December 22, after attending a gift-giving event in Daraga. Batocabe was the first congressman to be killed under the Duterte administration.
Baldo is running for reelection in May, going up against Gertie Batocabe, who took her slain husband’s place in the mayoral race, and incumbent Daraga Vice Mayor Victor Perete. – Rappler.com