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Money talks



robert roque robroq

I HATE to spoil the po­lice’s declared success in solving the murder of Ako Bicol Party-list Rep­resentative Rodel Bato­cabe and his security es­cort, SPO2 Orlando Diaz, in Daraga, Albay, but it seems there’s more to this case than meets the eye.

There’s the issue of the P50-million reward that helped flush out the al­leged gunmen from their hideout and supposed wit­nesses from their lairs.

In less than two weeks after the December 22 double-murder, six sus­pects have either surren­dered or been arrested. When interviewed, two of them said they gave them­selves up because not only do they fear for their safety but their eyes were also set on the prize money.

Fifty million pesos can make some men sing and dance to any music the “deejays” play.

Really, money talks.

This is where crack po­lice investigators come in. They ought to vet the suspects’ and wit­nesses’ stories to ensure their veracity, backed by material evidence before declaring the Batocabe case solved.

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All six suspects in police custody have pointed to Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo as the mastermind. They are either currently or were formerly em­ployed as the mayor’s confidential staff.

If their accusations are true, then Baldo is either brainless or brazen enough to use his own people to kill Batocabe and Diaz. Being the man to beat by Batocabe in the mayoral election, authorities would most likely treat him as the prime suspect.

Emmanuel Judavar, one of the witnesses, claimed that Baldo also ordered a hit job on former Daraga mayor Gerry Jaucian when he was the vice mayor. The plot, however, was never executed when the mayor died of lung cancer in May last year.

So, I ask again: Is Baldo really that dull-witted or brazen enough to kill Jaucian? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to just wait for the mayor to die of natural causes? Or is he bobo enough not to know that the mayor’s life was slipping away?

The police should make an airtight case and not simply rely on the con­venience of the alleged perpetrators’ statements to call the Batocabe-Diaz murder a closed case.

We do not wish to see this case go down the drain later when suspects retract their statements because of the all-too-familiar reasons that they were tortured and co­erced by the police to blame their boss.

The word bungle should never belong in the police dictionary if they are in­deed the real killers.

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SHORT BURSTS. Allow me to sincerely greet each and everyone a Happy New Year.. For comments or reactions, email firing­line@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column athttp://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/