THE outpouring of love, sympathies, and condolences for the bereaved family of the late Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe continued as lawmakers demanded immediate justice for the lawmaker.
Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) President Martin Romualdez said the country lost “another young, brilliant and outstanding public servant” following the cold-blooded murder of Batocabe who is running for mayor in Daraga town and his bodyguard, SPO1 Orlando Diaz, last Saturday afternoon as they were leaving a gift-giving event in Bgy. Burgos in Daraga, Albay.
“We condemn the killing of Congressman Batocabe and his security aide and demand swift justice. Nawalan ang mga Bicolano at mga Filipino ng isang katuwang at marangal na mambabatas. Walang lugar para sa ganitong uri ng karahasan sa lipunan natin, lalo na sa isang disenteng tagapaglingkod katulad ni Rodel,” said Romuldez, a lawyer and a former House Independent Bloc Leader of the 16th Congress.
“This is a very painful moment for the Batocabe family and we offer our prayers to them. He (Rodel) is a big loss to his province. We are praying that they be comforted by the Lord in this time of their mourning,” said Romuladez, a colleague of Batocabe during the 15th and 16th Congresses.
Romualdez stressed that the expression of love, support and condolences to the family of Batocabe is a testament to the great achievements and contributions of the late congressman to the province.
Batocabe, a lawyer and president of the Party List Coalition (PLC), and his wife Girtie have two sons, Jhustine and Khiel.
Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, the first nominee of Tingog Sinirangan party-list, said she is “hoping that the outpouring of love and support will somehow give them comfort at this very difficult time.”
“Bicolanos everywhere have lost a friend and an ally. I call on authorities to address this unforgivable, brazen, and violent act immediately. Investigate and prosecute with speed and urgency. God bless our friend and exemplary Bicolano,” said Yedda Romualdez, the chairperson of the House Committee on Accounts
“He made an impact on the lives of many Filipinos and definitely will continue to remain a source of inspiration to many,” she added.
House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya said “I share the outrage, the pain and the shock of my fellow Bicolanos over the death of my friend and colleague, Rodel 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. That he and his police aide were cowardly assassinated while spreading cheer in this season of forgiveness betrays the evil nature of the perpetrators. The killings must be strongly condemned, swiftly solved, and the culture of violence that stalks our land must be stopped,” said Andaya.
Visiting the wake of Batocabe on Sunday in Daraga, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reiterated her condemnation of the incident.
"I condemn what has happened. Life has become so cheap for politics," Arroyo told reporters. "Nothing can justify that murder, the gruesome murder of both Cong. Batocabe and his police aide."
Arroyo was joined by House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr., Albay Rep. Fernando Gonzalez and Ako-Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin, Jr. at the wake of Batocabe.