MANILA - All six gunmen allegedly involved in the killing of AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe have named the same "mastermind" behind the crime, a police spokesperson said Saturday.
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. said all of the suspects in custody have similar testimonies and named the same mastermind.
"They (suspects) gave their testimonies in separate locations but one thing that stood out during the investigation and interview is that they are only pointing to one mastermind," Durana told ANC on Saturday.
Police earlier tagged Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the "mastermind" behind the crime but he has denied the allegation.
"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 on Thursday.
The six suspects--Rolando Arimado, Christopher Naval, Emmanuel Rosello, Jaywin Babor, Danilo Muella, and Henry Yuson--were allegedly hired by Baldo to kill Batocabe for P5 million but only paid P250,000.
Yuson, who surrendered on Thursday, had told police it was Baldo who offered to pay for the hit but did not make good on this after the job was done.
"We have a very airtight case against all the suspects...We are quite confident that we have solved the case," Durana said.
Batocabe was shot dead three days before Christmas after he attended a gift-giving event in Daraga, where he was running as mayor.
His bodyguard was also killed in the incident, while several senior citizens who took part in the program were wounded.
Prior to his death, Batocabe was planning to challenge Baldo's reelection bid in Daraga.
Baldo and the other suspects are facing murder charges over the slay.
On Friday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said administrative charges would also filed against the Daraga mayor.