MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front (NDF)-Bikol denied allegations that the communist movement was involved in the murder of AKO Bicol representative Rodel Batocabe.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier said that Batocabe’s murder could be connected to supposed extortion activities of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area.
“Naging otomatiko na sa panig ng AFP-PNP na ibintang sa NPA ang ganitong mga kaso ng pamamaslang at iba pang krimen upang tabingan ang kanilang kaseryosohang imbestigahan at papanagutin ang mga salarin na kadalasan ay nagmumula rin sa kanilang hanay,” the NDF said in a statement on Wednesday, December 25.
(It has become a default of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and PNP to accuse the NPA of such incidents and other crimes to cover up their seriousness in investigating and arresting the killers, which are usually from their ranks as well.)
The communists said they did reach out to Batocabe in the past, but denied that they had asked for an “access fee” or granted him a “permit to campaign” in their controlled villages in Bicol.
The NDF claimed that Batocabe's death is part of a series of planned high-profile killings to solidify President Rodrigo Duterte's hold on power.