MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has increased the bounty from PHP30 million to PHP50 million for the arrest of the mastermind behind the killing of Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe.
Duterte made this announcement as the bereaved family sought for his help to get justice during his visit to the wake of the slain lawmaker in Daraga, Albay.
“The reward is at this time is 30 million. I'm raising the ante. I'm putting it at plus 20 to 50. Ang sabihin mo lang, tip lang. Bigyan mo isang tip lang (Just give a tip),” Duterte said in a media interview.
The 52-year-old Batocabe was shot eight times by two gunmen during a gift-giving event for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) on Dec. 22 in Burgos, Daraga town in Albay.
Durerte ordered the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to place Daraga under its control. Batocabe was running for mayor of Daraga.
“Anyway there’s really lawlessness and ‘yung violent crimes during [the] election, I just called the chairman of the Comelec and recommended to him to place Daraga under Comelec control,” Duterte said.
He reiterated his warning to politicians not to terrorize and intimidate voters, particularly during the upcoming campaign period for the 2019 midterm polls.
“So lahat ‘yan ngayon (So everything now) is Comelec control. It’s the office that has the final say of what to do in the matter of law and order,” Duterte said.
Duterte assured that Daraga town would be peaceful during the entire election.
He said the assault was “politically motivated” based on the initial findings, which show “very strong" and “almost straight” leads.
“So if I say politically motivated, it could be a politician, it could be the mayor, it could [be] the governor or a barangay captain. But my favorite name now is mayor. But I’m not saying who that mayor is,” he said.
Duterte, meanwhile, called on members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to stop “extorting” from politicians during the campaign period.
“Allow the people to campaign. Do not pretend to be the protector of people and yet you are milking them dry,” he said.
He also asked the communist rebels to help authorities in finding the suspect in Batocabe's murder. (PNA)
Photo from Rodel Batocabe’s Facebook page