Albay police chief sacked after Batocabe killing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 24 2018 10:43 AM

MANILA - The provincial police chief of Albay was relieved from his post following the fatal shooting of AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe there over the weekend, the regional police director said Monday.

Batocabe, 52, was distributing Christmas gifts in his hometown in Daraga, Albay when he and his police escort were gunned down by at least 6 assailants.

Albay police chief Senior Supt. Milo Pagtalunan will be replaced by Supt. Dennis Rellata to give way to an impartial investigation of the crime, said Police Regional Office 5 Director Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal.

Erstwhile Daraga police chief Benito Dipad was earlier removed from his post after Batocabe's killing. Dipad was replaced by Supt. Dennis Balla.

Investigators are looking at the possible link of politics or communist activity in the lawmaker's assassination, police earlier said.

Batocabe, elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, was eyeing the mayoral seat of Daraga in May's midterm elections. He recently voiced concern that rivals in the local race were using armed groups to influence the vote, said Escobal.

The area where Batocabe was killed is "heavily influenced" by communist rebels, Escobal also noted.

-- Report from Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News