AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police escort were shot dead in a gift-giving activity in Daraga, Albay on Saturday at around 3 p.m., police authorities said.
Unidentified gunmen killed Batocabe, 52, while taking a ride inside his van at a covered basketball court in Barangay Burgos.
Earlier in the day, in Mindanao, former Kadinigilan, Bukidnon Mayor Joelito Talaid, 43, died also in an ambush in Cagayan de Oro City.
An initial police investigation showed the attack on Talaid occurred at past 9 a.m. in Cagayan de Oro City’s Upper Carmen area.
A witness told police Talaid bought fruits at a store, and moments before riding his car a gunman emerged and shot him twice in the head.
Before fleeing, the assailant threatened the security guard at the store against interfering, ordering him to keep his mouth shut. He then fled on a waiting getaway motorcycle, the witness said.
Reacting to the incidents:
• Malacañang condemned the killing of Batocabe and Talaid, with Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo denouncing the slaying, expressing its deep condolences to the two families.
“Proper authorities are now investigating this brazen murder (of Batocabe) as we vow to leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators of this felonious act to justice,” he said.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of an ally and friend, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe. Nothing can justify his murder and that of his police aid,” Speaker Gloria Arroyo said.
“I call on our law enforcement agencies to conduct a speedy and thorough investigation to bring all those behind this dastardly act to justice,” she added.
• Senator Grace Poe herself deplored the killing of Batocabe and Talaid, saying “this sorry history in our nation of political violence must stop.”
According to Chief Insp. Malou Calubacib of the Bicol provincial police, Batocabe, who was running as Daraga mayor, was in the area to give gifts to senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
Batocabe and SPO1 Orlando Diaz were rushed to a nearby hospital but were declared dead on arrival.
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House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., for his part, shared the “outrage, the pain and the shock” over the killing of Batocabe.
“He was a man of peace and a visionary for progress. The laws he had authored and the programs he had initiated will continue to make a difference in the lives of the people he had selflessly served long after he is gone,” he said.
“His murder must be strongly condemned, swiftly solved and the culture of violence that stalks our land must be stopped,” he said.
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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said “[Batocabe’s] killers and their mastermind must be relentlessly pursued, apprehended and brought to justice without delay,” he said.
“Politics must not be stained by the blood of politicians and partisans. It must be confined to the confrontation of ideas and programs in the tranquil fora of mutual respect and civility. The culture of violence must be forthwith eliminated, instead of being perpetuated, condoned and encouraged by those in power,” he added.
Batocabe, a lawyer who graduated with honors from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, was a member of the House committees on dangerous drugs, energy, health, tourism, and good government and public accountability.
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