POLICE are investigating the involvement of guns-for-hire in the assassination of Ako-Bikol Party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe and his policeman-bodyguard in Daraga, Albay 3 p.m. Saturday, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
It turned out that apart from killing the lawmaker who is seeking the Daraga mayoralty in next year’s mid-term election and Senior Police Officer 2 Orlando Diaz, the gunmen also wounded seven other innocent civilians attending the gift-giving activity for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens at the covered court of Burgos Elementary School located in Purok 3, Barangay Burgos in Daraga.
The wounded victims were identified as Ellen Mansos, 63, who was shot in the left arm; Marina Mediavillo, 78, who suffered a lump in her head following the ensuing stampede; Florencita Mendones, 67, shot in the left elbow; Haydie Llorca,61, shot in the chest; Gregorio Mediavillo,79, who suffered a gunshot wound in his elbow and hips; Jesus Medes, 73, shot in the buttocks; and Nella Millena, 71.
The 52-year-old Batocabe sustained eight gunshot wounds in the body while his bodyguard SPO2 Diaz, 42, a member of the Police Security and Protection Group from Ligao City, Albay was shot twice in the head and once each in the left chest, abdomen, right leg and left leg.
Journal Group sources said that before he was killed, the lawmaker had complained to the local police of the presence of a Partisan Armed Group allegedly under the employ of his main rival, incumbent Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo.
The erstwhile Daraga vice mayor, Baldo took over as mayor of the municipality following the death of elected mayor Jerry Jaucian who died after a long battle with lung cancer.
Rep. Batocabe’s complaint is already being investigated by the Police Regional Office 5 headed by Chief Superintendent Arnel B. Escobal who also ordered the relief of the Daraga Municipal Police Station chief, Supt. Benito Dipad in the aftermath of last Saturday’s incident.
Supt. Dennis Balla was named as new Daraga police chief.
Escobal said that their initial investigation showed that Rep. Batocabe and his bodyguard were about to go to his vehicle when the gunmen who mingled with the crowd opened fire at them.