THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday confirmed the arrest of Henry Yuson, the alleged hitman behind the DEc. 22 assassination of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel M. Batocabe.
“With the arrest of the main gunman, this will further tighten the noose around the necks of the suspects,” PNP Chief Director-General Oscar D. Albayalde said in a televised press briefing, Friday.
Mr. Albayalde said Mr. Yuson had surrendered to the authorities, but was arrested in connection with a pending rape case.
“He surrendered to the Army, the 903rd but he was arrested because we served a warrant of arrest against him for the crime of rape,” Mr. Albayalde said.
Mr. Yuson was identified as a former New People’s Army rebel. Mr. Albayalde also reported that Jaywin Babor, who was designated in charge of the getaway motorcycle, had likewise surrendered and is now in police custody.
“May additional pa just this morning, at 10 am, the IG (Intelligence Group) of the PNP took custody of Jaywin Babor who is allegedly the driver of another one getaway motorycle used during the assassination of Congressman Batocabe and SPO2 Diaz,” the PNP chief said.
Mr. Albayalde said the suspects surrendered following a conflict over the P5-million pay for the hit job. “Pareho sinasabi nila na hindi tumupad sa usapan doon sa pera. May usapang problema sa pera so ito halos pare-pareho sinasabi nila,” he said. (They all say a promise was broken regarding the payment. There was a problem about the money so this is what they practically all say.)
The PNP had earlier tagged Mayor Carlwyn G. Baldo of Daraga, Albay, as the mastermind in Mr. Batocabe’s murder. Also implicated by the police were Christopher C. Naval, Danilo Muella, Rolando Arimado, and Emmanuel Rosello.
Mr. Batocabe and his police escort SPO2 Orlando Diaz were gunned down during a gift-giving activity in Daraga. He had earlier announced he was seeking the mayoralty in this year’s midterm elections.
Mr. Baldo, in a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, following his implication by the police, asserted his innocence.
For her part, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sought the prosecution of Mr. Baldo and others tagged by the police.
“Now that the mastermind and all his co-conspirators have been identified, our law enforcement agencies must ensure that they be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said in a statement on Friday. — Charmaine A. Tadalan