MANILA- The suspects in the killing of Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe will have their day in court, Malacañang said Thursday as it lauded police efforts to solve the crime.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has tagged Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the mastermind behind Batocabe's slay, saying the local official allegedly hired 7 gunmen to kill the lawmaker, his opponent in this year's midterm elections.
"This is a breakthrough in the pursuit of justice for the victims and their families," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, together with all others tagged as suspects of the aforesaid murder, will have their day in court where they can refute the charges hurled against them," he added.
The 52-year-old Batocabe 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.
President Rodrigo Duterte and some congressmen earlier offered a P50-million bounty to those who could provide information that would lead to the arrest of those responsible for Batocabe's death.
Panelo also assured the public that the suspects in the killing of Batocabe will immediately be prosecuted.
"While they too are afforded the Constitutional presumption of innocence and consequently will be accorded due process, the government shall nonetheless prosecute them for the heinous crime without delay," he said.