ALBAY, Philippines – The son of slain AKO Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe on Tuesday, May 7, asked Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo to “peacefully surrender” after a regional trial court in Legazpi City ordered his arrest.
“We hope that Mr Baldo peacefully surrender to the authorities in order that trial could proceed,” lawyer Justin Batocabe said on Tuesday afternoon, May 7.
He added: “We are very happy and grateful that a warrant of arrest has already been issued. We understand that he is currently in hiding and we hope that he can be apprehended as soon as possible.”
After failing to serve the arrest warrant on Monday, May 6, Lieutenant Colonel Rodelon Betita, Daraga police chief, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group personnel returned to Baldo’s home again on Tuesday, but to no avail.
Merito Lovenzky Fernandez, head of Baldo’s legal team, earlier said his client will surrender to authorities peacefully and will not go on hiding. On Tuesday, he said they do not know where the mayor is.
“We will issue an official statement today and Mayor Baldo will surrender peacefully to the authorities as soon as he resurface. As of now, we don’t know the whereabouts of Mayor Baldo,” Fernandez said on Tuesday.
Anthony Nuyda, regional director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said Baldo has until Friday to appear and heed the court order, or else his vice mayor Victor Perete will take over his post, based on the rule of succession provided under the 1991 Local Government Code.
Perete is running for mayor in the May polls, going up against Baldo and Gertie Batocabe, who took her slain husband’s place in the mayoral race.
Nuyda said that if Baldo fails to surrender to authorities within the given deadline, or once he gets arrested, Perete will automatically assume as acting mayor to avoid any vacuum in the Daraga government’s daily operations. The DILG had consulted with law enforcers and the Commission on Elections in coming to the decision.
Baldo was charged with murder over the killing of Batocabe and his police escort, Orlando Diaz, on December 22, 2018. Batocabe was running for mayor of Daraga against Baldo. – Rappler.com