MANILA - Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo's authority over local police will be revoked after he was tagged as the alleged mastermind in the killing of AKO Bicol partylist lawmaker Rodel Batocabe, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday.
In a statement, Año said he would convene the National Police Commission, which he chairs, to discuss stripping the mayor’s deputation powers.
He said authorities have an "air-tight case" against Baldo, who is facing double murder and multiple frustrated murder charges along with the alleged gunmen.
Baldo has denied having a hand in the slay.
Batocabe was planning to challenge reelectionist Baldo for the Daraga mayoralty in the midterm elections in May.
The lawmaker, 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.
Batocabe had claimed rivals were using armed groups to meddle with the polls.
Año said the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police were "committed to dismantle private armed groups of politicians as well as revoke the firearms licenses of those found to be violating the law."
"It does not matter if you are a congressman, governor or mayor, no one is above the law and we will implement the law without fear or favor," he said.
Año said he has placed the police on heightened alert to monitor all political candidates' activities in the upcoming elections
"Let this, therefore, serve as a stern warning against all politicians not to intimidate, harass, or do violence against their political opponents in the forthcoming elections, otherwise the DILG-PNP will run after them and ensure that justice will be served," he said.
Año also warned politicians who abuse their local police powers, citing the case of Guimbal town mayor Oscar Garin, who attacked a police officer along with his son Iloilo Rep. Richard Garin.
The DILG also revoked Garin's deputation powers.