By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has recovered in a septic tank in Camarines Sur disconnected parts of a caliber .45 pistol which was believed to be used in the killing of Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his security escort on December 22.
Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, regional director of Bicol Regional Police Office (PRO-5), said the pistol was found inside a septic tank located near the house of Emmanuel Rosello alias “Boboy,” one of the drivers of the getaway motorcycles used by the suspects, in Zone 5, Barangay Santo Nino, Pili, Camarines Sur.
The gun parts were discovered around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, January 10.
Escobal said among the parts recovered were the gun’s barrel, slide, a stabilizer, two magazines, a barrel bushing, a slide lock, a stabilizer guide, three fired cartridge cases and 34 live ammunition from a caliber .45 pistol.
According to Escobal, the caliber .45 pistol was used by Rolando Arimando alias “RR,” who served as a lookout and backup gunman in the killing of Batocabe and SPO2 Orlando Diaz, his security escort, during a gift-giving activity in Daraga, Albay. Six others were injured in the said attack.
Arimado allegedly gave the pistol to Rosello for disposal after the hit job, which the latter then threw in a septic tank near their house.
“As per revelation, the gun was used by Arimaldo. It was given to Boboy,” Escobal said.
Rosello was arrested in Daraga, Albay on January 3 but it was only recently that he confessed to police he disposed the pistol, prompting elements of Bicol police and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to search for the gun.
Escobal said Rosello’s confession may have been caused by the surrender of the other members of the hit squad.
The recovered gun parts were then subjected to laboratory examinations to determine if it would match the recovered caliber .45 bullet shells in the crime scene, Escobal said.
Earlier, PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde revealed that some of the bullet shells found in the crime scene matched the licensed gun used by Henry Yuson, the main gunman, according to the results of the ballistic examination.
Yuson, along with the other members of the six-men hit squad who either surrendered to or were arrested by the police, all pointed to Daraga town Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the mastermind in the assassination plan.
“We are confident that Yuson and the other suspects are telling the truth. This will further boost our case against them,” Albayalde said.
However, Baldo vehemently denied the accusation and asserted his innocence.
Double murder and multiple frustrated murder charges had been filed against the seven suspects.