Malacañang vows 'no stone unturned' in Batocabe probe

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang vowed justice for slain AKO Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe, who was gunned down in Albay on Saturday, December 22.

"Proper authorities are now investigating this brazen murder as we vow to leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators of this felonious act to justice," said Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in a statement on Saturday.

"The Palace likewise expresses its deep condolences to his bereaved family, his loved ones, as well as his friends and colleagues in Congress during this moment of great grief." (READ: Arroyo, lawmakers condemn killing of Batocabe)

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, in a separate statement, said he directed the Philippine National Police to immediately conduct an investigation.

"All angles and motives will be pursued," he said. "We will make sure that justice shall prevail."

'This impunity must end'

Vice President Leni Robredo also condemned Batocabe's murder, saying that justice must be swift.

She described the lawmaker as "smart and eloquent, witty and cheerful, a person who lived life to the fullest."

"Rodel was a fellow Bicolano, my batchmate in UP Diliman, and a colleague in the 16th Congress.... He will be missed, both for his service and his friendship," the Vice President said.

"But beyond my personal grief at his passing, is the growing rage at yet another brazen murder, committed in broad daylight, in the middle of a crowd," Robredo also said.

"This cannot, and must not be the new normal; when Filipinos, young and old, rich and poor, are gunned down in cold blood as a matter of course, and where none of us can feel safe. This impunity must end."

Batocabe was running for mayor of Daraga, Albay, in the 2019 elections. He is the first congressman to be shot dead since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.

At least 7 vice mayors and 12 mayors have been slain under the Duterte administration. – Rappler.com