SC: Transfer Batocabe murder case to Manila
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - December 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed the transfer from Legazpi City to Manila of the murder case filed in connection with the killing of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe. 

 In a two-page notice dated Nov. 27 and released yesterday, the SC’s Second Division granted the request of Batocabe’s wife Gertrudes, their son Justin and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. to transfer the venue of the hearings.

 The SC also ordered the Legazpi City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 to forward the records of the case to the office of the Manila RTC executive judge within three days from notice. 

The high tribunal said the new judge who will handle the case should  hear and decide ”with utmost dispatch.”

“Petitioners’ request for transfer of venue is anchored on the alleged bias and partiality of (Legazpi City RTC Branch 10) Judge (Ma.Theresa) San Juan-Loquillano toward Baldo, claiming that they cannot have a fair trial... and that they fear for the safety of their family and witnesses should the trial continue in Albay or in any court in Bicol,” the SC said. 

The petitioners also noted that the alleged mastermind, former Daraga mayor Carlwyn Baldo, is out on bail.

“Considering... that the parties involved are influential politicians... and to prevent any pressure, influence and appearance of partiality, there should be a change of hearing venue,” the petitioners said.

Batocabe and his police escort Orlando Diaz were gunned down after a gift-giving event in Barangay Burgos in Daraga on Dec. 22 last year. The plan to kill Batocabe was allegedly hatched when he announced his intention to run for mayor of Daraga.            

ALFREDO GARBIN JR LEGAZPI CITY REGIONAL TRIAL COURT SUPREME COURT
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