SC okays transfer of Batocabe murder case to Manila
The Supreme Court allowed a request from the family of slain Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe to transfer the venue of murder trial where former Albay town mayor Carlwyn Baldo was accused as the mastermind from Legazpi City to a court in Metro Manila.
In an order, the SC granted the letter-requests of the slain lawmaker’s wife Gertrudes, Atty. Justin Caesar Anthony Batocabe, and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.
The high court required the clerck of court of Branch 10 of the Legazpi City regional trial court to forward the entire records of the case to the executive judge of the Manila regional trial court.
On the other hand, the executive judge of the Manila RTC upon receipt of the records was directed to raffle the case, and the judge to whom the case was assigned was instructed to resolve it with dispatch.
The SC order was prompted by allegations that Legazpi City RTC Branch 10 Judge Maria Teresa San Juan – Loquillano was allegedly biased and partial towards Baldo.
Also, the Batocabe family expressed fears for their lives including that of the witnesses should the murder trial continue in Legazpi City.
Baldo was facing two counts of murder, one for Batocabe and another for the latter’s police aide, Master Sgt. Orlando Diaz.
Baldo was tagged as the alleged mastermind in the sensational killing. He denied any responsibility.
He was arrested last January for illegal possession of firearms but was out on bail.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Baldo for two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder after a probable cause was established during preliminary investigation.
Also charged were five others namely Christopher Naval, Emmanuel Rosello, Jaywin Babor, Henry Yuson, and Rolando Arimado.
Batocabe and his security escort were shot dead by unidentified men in a remote village in Daraga town last December 22.