THE Philippine National Police yesterday asked Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo to surrender after a court issued a warrant for his arrest for double murder and six counts of attempted murder charges over the killing of AKO-Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his security escort last December.
“Better para less hassle kung sumuko na lang si mayor. Anyway he will have his day in court,” PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said.
Albayalde directed the regional police director in Region 5 to immediately serve the warrant but as of press time, there was still no feedback if they were able to arrest Baldo or not.
Legazpi City Regional Trial Court Branch 10 Judge Maria Theresa San Juan-Loquillano last week issued two warrants of arrest against Baldo and six others for the murder of Batocabe and his police escort SPO1 Orlando Diaz last December 22.
Also charged were Christopher Naval, Emmanuel Rosello, Jaywin Babor, Henry Yuson and Rolando Arimado.
ALBAY POLICE STEP UP HUNT
The Albay Police Provincial Office yesterday stepped-up their manhunt for Baldo amid suspicions that some local authorities tipped the mayor of his impending arrest to give him ample time to escape.
Journal Group sources said that Judge Loquillano issued the warrant for the arrest of Baldo on Friday last week. However, the Albay PPO as well as the Daraga Municipal Police Station only got a copy of the warrant of arrest on Monday.
“Somebody from Camp Crame called up Bicol police director Brig. Gen. Arnel Escobal to inform him that his friends from the Supreme Court are ribbing him for the apparent failure of the Albay police to arrest Baldo despite the issuance of a warrant for his arrest,” said a police officer privy to the case.
The officer, who demanded anonymity, said that Escobal told the caller that nobody can prevent them from arresting the mayor once there is an order from the court.
Escobal later found out that both the Albay and the Daraga police forces were not furnished of the court order last Friday.
“It was only last Monday that the Legazpi City court finally furnished the local police of the warrant for the arrest of Mayor Baldo or more than three days after it was issued,” he said.
Escobal said PRO5 tracker teams are currently hunting down the mayor.
After getting a copy of the warrant of arrest on Monday morning, a team of local policemen led by Lt. Col. Rodelon Betita went to Mayor Baldo’s house but failed to find him. Later in the afternoon, the same police team went to the Baldo’s ancestral house but were initially prevented by the mayor’s lawyers from entering the compound. When they were finally allowed to search the area, the officers failed to find the mayor.
READY TO YIELD
The mayor’s counsel said Baldo will surrender to authorities to face the charges against him. However, no date was set for the mayor’s surrender.
Albay police director Col. Wilson Asueta said that the mayor has sent word he would yield.
Batocabe was killed while trying to wrest the Daraga mayoral post from Baldo.
Baldo is running for reelection vice Batocabe’s widow Gertie, and Vice-Mayor Victor Perete.
Prior to the issuance of the warrant of arrest, Baldo has been busy campaigning for reelection while on temporary bail.
The embattled mayor was arrested by the police last January 22 for illegal possession of firearms.
Baldo was released after posting P3 million in bail last February.
With Alfred Dalizon