2 witnesses to Batocabe slay in police custody

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 01 2019 10:26 PM | Updated as of Jan 02 2019 03:19 PM

MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - Two witnesses in the killing of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe are in the hands of authorities and have given statements, police sources said Tuesday.

Justin Batocabe, son of the slain lawmaker, said Wednesday they were "very close" to solving his father's murder.

"I have received a briefing from the authorities and the case is proceeding positively and we are very close to solving the case of my father's murder," he told ANC.

He added that police were already verifying the statements given by witnesses.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. on Wednesday confirmed that witnesses have come forward, but he refused to confirm how many were being interviewed.

"There are a lot of witnesses that came in and sila po ay iniinterview ngayon (they are being interviewed)," he told reporters.

"At this point in time, we are quite happy to report that we are progressing positively and pretty soon siguro may magandang balita na mailathala ang pamunuan ng PNP (the PNP will have good news to share)," he added.

A P50-million reward raised by President Rodrigo Duterte and Batocabe's colleagues in Congress will be given to those who would provide information that would lead to the perpetrators.

Batocabe, 52, was distributing Christmas gifts in his hometown in Daraga, Albay on Dec. 22 when he and his police escort were gunned down by at least 6 assailants.

The lawmaker succumbed to 8 gunshot wounds from .40 and .45 caliber firearms, and the assailants walked away from the crime scene by mixing in with the crowd

Batocabe, elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, was eyeing the mayoral seat of Daraga in the 2019 midterm elections. He was laid to rest at the Daraga Catholic Cemetery in Albay on Monday. -- report from Maan Macapagal and Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News