By Martin Sadongdong
Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, the suspected mastermind in the assassination of Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his security escort last December, was arrested Tuesday afternoon by joint police forces who raided his house for unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
With Baldo’s arrest, President Duterte reminded congressmen to keep their promise if providing P30 million reward for the arrest of the killers of Batocabe.
The President said he already gave the P20-million bounty which he had earlier promised. But the lawmakers have yet to give the reward.
Baldo, 48, was arrested around 2:30 p.m. by agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Albay, Bicol PNP’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion, Regional Intelligence Unit, and the Daraga Municipal Police Station.
A report reaching the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, showed that the arrest was made while policemen were enforcing two search warrants on Baldo’s house on Lakandula Drive, Barangay Tagas, Daraga, Albay, for unlicensed guns.
Found at Baldo’s house were two unlicensed caliber .45 pistols, a magazine for an Uzi machine pistol loaded with seven bullets, an ammunition for M203 grenade launcher, eight ammunition for caliber .45 pistol, and one ammunition for an M16 rifle.
Police also seized a white Isuzu Alterra with license plate BCW 941 which was among the subjects of the search warrant.
Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, Bicol police director, said the Isuzu was one of the vehicles allegedly used by the suspects in carrying out the hit job.
Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac, newly installed PNP spokesperson, welcomed the arrest of Baldo which puts behind bars all of the seven suspects tagged in the killing of Batocabe and SPO2 Orlando Diaz. The members of the hit squad allegedly hired by Baldo to kill Batocabe were earlier arrested or have surrendered to authorities.
“This is part of our effort to build solid evidence leading to the successful prosecution of the suspects in the Batocabe slay. The CPNP [chief of the PNP, Director General Oscar Albayalde] is extending his congratulations to the operating units,” Banac said.
Baldo will be taken to the CIDG office in Albay for proper disposition, the police report said.
Baldo was pinpointed by the six-member hit squad he allegedly hired as the brains behind Batocabe’s assassination during a gift-giving activity on December 22, 2018.
The assassination came days after Batocabe announced in public that he would run for mayor in Daraga in the forthcoming 2019 midterm elections.