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Probers close to identifying Batocabe’s killer; bounty set at P30-M

MANILA – Investigators are close to identifying a gunman who killed AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe over the weekend, police said Wednesday.
    
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.

The task force investigating the killing are following several leads pointing to one gunman, said Chief Inspector Malou Calubaquib, public information officer of the Bicol police.

A “credible” witness also gave information about the assailant, which corresponded with earlier statements gathered by investigators, she told radio DZMM.

Asked how close authorities are to identifying the gunman, Calubaquib said, “Nasa 60 to 65 percent na tayo.”

(We’re already at around 60 to 65 percent.)

Batocabe, who was eyeing Daraga’s mayoral seat in the 2019 elections, earlier claimed rivals were using armed groups to meddle with the vote.

Investigators are focusing on the angle that his killing was politically motivated, said Calubaquib.

The Bicol police is also studying a proposal by Batocabe’s party-list to disarm the security escorts of politicians in the region, she said.

Lawmakers and the local government raised P30 million for information that would lead to the slay’s mastermind, and the gunmen who escaped by mixing with the crowd after the shooting.