By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
The Ako Bicol party-list and the provincial government of Albay have been offered a total of P17-million bounty for anyone who will provide information leading to the arrest of killers of Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
The party-list group through Batocabe’s colleague, Rep. Alfredo Garbin, has pledged P15 million while Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara offered P2 million for the reward.
Batocabe was on his last term as the party-list legislator of Ako Bicol and was vying for the mayorship in Daraga, Albay when he was slain by armed assailants along Barangay Burgos around 3 p.m. of December 22.
The late solon’s colleagues in the House of Representatives are also pooling together an additional P15 million bounty as more than 150 congressmen pledge to contribute at least P100,000 each.
Garbin said the party-list group has called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for the immediate disarmament of the armed goons of rival politicians in Daraga, Albay.
According to sources close to the congressman, P/Supt. Charlotte Dodson Peñalosa, chief of the Regional Police and Security Protection Unit—Region 5 which is under the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) has pulled out Batocabe’s police escort days before the gruesome attack.
Garbin said Ako Bicol is calling for the immediate removal of Peñalosa “for her incompetence and negligence resulting in the loss of life and hope for many Daragueños.”
On Sunday, P/Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, director ng Police Regional Office 5 has relieved Daraga Police chief P/Supt. Benito Dipad Jr. following the brutal assassination of Batocabe.
Batocabe’s remains is current lying at the Arcilla Hall of the Bicol University in Daraga, with his interment scheduled on December 31, 2018 in a venue yet to be announced. A memorial service in his honor is being planned on January 14, 2019 at the House of Representatives.