Batocabe security pulled out before murder? Cops cry foul

MANILA, Philippines – Police pulled out security escorts of slain congressman Rodel Batocabe before his murder, his fellow AKO Bicol representative Alfredo Garbin Jr claimed on Sunday, December 23. Police denied his allegation.

“The killing of our friend and colleague congressman Batocabe was planned because he was killed days after his security personnel recalled suddenly by Superintendent Charlotte Peñalosa for [an] unknown reason,” Garbin, sobbing, told reporters in a press briefing.

According to Garbin, Batocabe originally had 3 policemen to guard him, but two were taken away just before he was shot dead on Saturday.

Batocabe’s one police aide, Senior Police Officer I Orlando Diaz was also killed during the ambush.

Had there been more policemen to guard his colleague, Garbin said Batocabe could have survived the attack. (READ: Batocabe killed on day of wedding anniversary with 'wifey')

Police said Garbin got it wrong.

In a text message to Rappler, Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) chief Filmore Escobal said Batocabe only had one police escort assigned to him.

“PSPG member died defending his VIP. Not true…For now, isa pa lang provided [na police escort], ['di] pa sya nakapili ng 1 pa na gusto nya na pulis (There is only one provided police escort. He hasn't chosen his other police guard yet),” Escobal said.

The PNP PSPG is the police unit which facilitates the assignment of police guards for high-profile personalities and civilians who request them after proving that they have received threats.

The PSPG has only recently recalled police aides for accounting or reorientation, but Escobal said that this was not the case with Batocabe.

A police special investigation task group has been formed to focus on investigating Batocabe’s murder. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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