Batocabe’s lawyer-son Justin said the amount was given to Emmanuel Judavar, who had a falling out with Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, who was implicated by the six arrested suspects – including the alleged gunman Henry Yuson – now in police custody.
Ernie Peñaredondo
Rodel Batocabe slay whistle-blower gets P20 million
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The witness who blew the whistle in the murder of Ako Bicol congressman Rodel Batocabe last month is now P20 million richer, courtesy of the bounty President Duterte offered for anybody who could provide leads for the immediate arrest of the assailants.

Batocabe’s lawyer-son Justin said the amount was given to Emmanuel Judavar, who had a falling out with Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, who was implicated by the six arrested suspects – including the alleged gunman Henry Yuson – now in police custody.

“I believe the P20 million was given to Judavar,” Justin Batocabe told journalists.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier said he prefers that Judavar be made recipient of the bounty because it was his valuable information that eventually resulted in the immediate resolution of the case.

Judavar, a former employee of Baldo, claimed that the mayor hatched the plot to kill Batocabe in August when the lawmaker was supposed to challenge his reelection bid in this year’s mayoralty race in Daraga, Albay.

Six other suspects have been charged in the local prosecutor’s office where they were accused of double murder – that of Batocabe and his police escort Orlando Diaz after they attended a gift-giving for senior citizens on Dec. 22 in Barangay Burgos in Daraga town.

On top of the P20 million Duterte offered, about 180 lawmaker-colleagues of Batocabe also contributed around P50,000 each, which reportedly amounted to P9 million, aside from the P15 million the Ako Bicol party-list offered, and the P2 million from the Albay government.

There were also contributions from other groups that have now reached P30 million, which, according to Justin, has yet to be released and will most likely be given in tranches as the murder case moves along.

“The discussion we had was that the assessment will start with the preliminary investigation and finding of probable cause by the investigating prosecutor and up until the final conviction of all the accused,” the young Batocabe, who might replace his father in the mayoralty race, said.

“This is because this is where justice will truly be served, or the stage when the real facts have been ascertained in a full-blown trial, which will only happen when the judge determines the guilt of all the accused beyond reasonable doubt,” Justin explained.

The reward money will be given to the family of the suspects who voluntarily surrendered, he added, and they will make sure that the amount will not be put to waste.

Batocabe was replaced by lawyer Ronald Ang, the party-list group’s fourth nominee, next to Reps. Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Christopher Co. He swore his oath before Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the plenary hall on Wednesday.

“The circumstances are indeed sorrowful; however, we in Ako Bicol party-list are committed to continue, without interruption, the programs and services, policies and advocacies of our party, bearing in mind the primordial interest of our constituency,” Ang said.

Ang worked with former senators Francisco Tatad and Edgardo Angara from 1995 to 2008 in the Senate. As a lawyer, his diverse practice includes development, environment, tourism and energy laws.

Meanwhile, at least P25 million of the P50-million reward to the Batocabe slay witnesses was already given the other day aside from the P20 million and the P5 million given yesterday in Congress, Garbin Jr. confirmed. – With Cet Dematera

CRIME MURDER OSCAR ALBAYALDE RODEL BATOCABE
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