A town mayor has denied ordering the assassination of a Bicol congressman, claiming that he is just a “convenient scapegoat” for the killing.
Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo today (Thursday, January 3), said he had no part in the shooting of Representative Rodel Batocabe during a Christmas Gift giving event on December 22. A police escort also lost his life in the attack.
“I assert my innocence,” he said. “Let us not forget that while I am being used as a convenient scapegoat, those who are truly responsible for the crime remain free and blameless.” Baldo was speaking at a televised press conference at his office in Daraga, which was livestreamed by ONE News on Facebook.
“I am an easy target, but that does not make me guilty of the crime,” he added.
Earlier today, the police filed double murder and frustrated murder complaints against Baldo before the Albay Provincial Prosecutor’s Office. They cited as witnesses the alleged hitmen who supposedly took part in the plot to kill Rep. Batocabe.
One of the witnesses, Emmanuel Judavar, reportedly told police that he took part in the planning of the assassination but pulled out after Baldo refused to pay five million pesos for the killing.
Baldo has declined to comment on the accusations against him.
He said: “I am already being persecuted in the court of public opinion. I just want to serve. Upon the advice of my legal counsel, I will refrain from further discussing this matter until we properly and formally receive our copy of the complaint.”
The police have recommended that Baldo be stripped of his responsibility for town police and that government revoke his licence to own and carry firearms.
As we previously reported, Rep. Batocabe, who was not standing again for Congress, was campaigning to be mayor of Daraga in May’s elections. Baldo was also standing for re-election.
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