PNP: P35M reward money for Batocabe slay accounted for

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    THE PNP yesterday said it has given a total of P35 million as reward to the informants on the slaying of former Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe, contrary to the claims of Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. that the money cannot be accounted for.

    In a statement, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the PNP is ready to provide the House of Representatives details on how the reward money was distributed to the informants.

    “The PNP is ready to provide details on the reward money for the Batocabe murder case… We assure the public that all money is accounted for, and the PNP CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) and PNP IG (Intelligence Group) are ready to present and provide the details if and when Congress asks for it,” Banac said.

    Banac said the P13 million reward money that came from Congress was handed to PNP chief Oscar Albayalde in a ceremonial turnover last January, hence the role of Albayalde “was merely ministerial and definitely he has no hand in the distribution.”

    The PNP issued the clarification after Garbin aired suspicions that the reward money was split among the police themselves “as some sort of incentives.”

    “The moment the total of P35 million was turned over to the PNP, the laws on cash rewards, witness protection, custody of funds for public purposes were in play. Nowhere in any of our laws and regulations does it say the informants’ bounty are incentive bonuses for any police officer or any so-called ‘ninja cop,’” Garbin said.

    Banac said the whole amount of P35 million is accounted for.

    “Along with the PNP IG, the PNP CIDG allocated to all informants and suspects/witnesses a total amount of P20M from the Office of the President, and P13M from Congress. The Albay Police Provincial Office allocated the P2M from LGU of Albay for a total amount of P35M reward money,” Banac said.

    Batocabe and his security escortSPO2 Orlando Ortiz were killed after handing Christmas gifts to children at the Burgos Elementary School in Daraga, Albay last December.

    Days after the killing, six suspects surrendered and tagged Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the brains behind the assassination, an allegation denied by Baldo. The suspects said Baldo ordered the killing of Batocabe because the partylist congressman intended to run as mayor of Daraga against Baldo in the 2019 May elections.

    In January 2019, police served a search warrant on Baldo’s house and seized undocumented firearms that led to the arrest of the Daraga mayor. He posted bail for the charges of illegal possession of firearms a month later.

    Last May, Baldo surrendered to the police apparently to face the allegations that he masterminded Batocabe’s killing. Last month, he was allowed by the court to post P8.72 million in bail.