MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday warned politicians against threatening the family of slain AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
Without mentioning names, Duterte said he issued the warning earlier when he visited Albay.
"Maski nung pumunta ako ng Albay, sabi ko p*t*ng*n* mo 'pag mayroong isang... mayroon naman talagang tatakbong relative, the wife or the son, do not [threaten]," Duterte said in a speech during the birthday party of his former political adviser Francis Tolentino in Tagaytay City.
(Even when I came to Albay, I said [curses] if there is one... a relative [of Batocabe] will definitely run, the wife or the son, do not threaten.)
"Kasi pag ginawa mo p*t*ng*n* mo sampalin kita diyan sa munisipyo. You want to try it? Sige, bukas andoon ako 'pag hindi kita nilampaso diyan," he added.
(Because if you do that [curses] i will slap you there at the town hall. You want to try it? Sure, I'll be there tomorrow and I will beat you.)
Duterte made the statement just hours after the Philippine National Police tagged Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the mastermind behind Batocabe's slay.
Baldo allegedly hired 7 gunmen to kill the lawmaker, his supposed opponent in this year's midterm elections, police said.
The Daraga mayor, however, denied the allegations and asserted his innocence.
"I assert my innocence. Let us not forget that while I’m being used as convenient scapegoat, those who are truly responsible for the crime remain free and blameless," Baldo said in a press conference.
"I am an easy target but that does not make me guilty of the crime. I am already being persecuted in the courts of public opinion. I am a public servant at ang gusto ko lang naman po ay magsilbi (and I just want to serve)," he added.
Justin Batocabe, son of the slain lawmaker, earlier said their family would stay in politics, seeing it as the "best way to get back" at his father's killers.
Batocabe's widow, Gertie, is "open to thinking about" running for mayor in Daraga town, in place of her husband.
"It’s to show them that despite this, we are strong and we are still ready to serve, we will give everything that we have for the people," Justin Batocabe told ANC's Headstart on Thursday.
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.