MANILA — The Court of Appeals (CA) has invalidated a Regional Trial Court (RTC) order that allowed former Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo to post bail in the murder case he is facing over the killing of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
The RTC Legazpi in 2019 allowed Baldo to post an P8.720-million bail.
But in a decision issued on Feb. 28, the CA 12th Division found that the RTC only considered the testimonies of 2 witnesses and excluded those of 3 other witnesses.
The CA said this violated the state's right to due process.
"The failure to include every piece of evidence in the summary presented by the prosecution in their favor during the prior hearing would be tantamount to not giving them the opportunity to be heard in said hearing, for the inference would be that they were not considered at all in weighing the evidence of guilt," the decision read.
The CA ordered the trial court to reassess all the evidence in Batocabe's slay.
Batocabe, 52, was distributing Christmas gifts in Daraga, his hometown, on Dec. 22, 2018 when he and his police escort were gunned down by at least 6 assailants.
The slain lawmaker was planning to challenge reelectionist Baldo for the Daraga mayoralty in the May elections.
Baldo surrendered to authorities and maintained his innocence, claiming several people were destroying his name to further their interests in Daraga.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: