The murder of Ako Bicol Congressman and Daraga, Albay mayoralty candidate, Rodel Batocabe, puts Albay in a hotspot. Observers and voters alike are asking what will happen next now that Batocabe is gone and how come the municipality has come to this.
Prior to the death of Batocabe, the mayoralty race was seen as three-cornered with Batocabe under the National Unity Party (NUP) banner, current Mayor Carlwyn Baldo under Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), and Victor Perete of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). The odds were with Batocabe especially with the support of Ako Bicol who has links with House Speaker and former President Gloria Arroyo.
With Batocabe gone, the tables turned and instead became messy. Baldo was tagged as a suspect in the murder and slapped with two counts of murder and six frustated murder cases. Baldo, however, claimed innocence stating that he is being used as a scapegoat leaving the real culprit untouched.
With President Rodrigo Duterte issuing threats to slap, if not send to the floor, Mayor Baldo, the public opinion is now swaying against the latter. If this situation will continue until the voting day, the beneficiary of the whole mess will be Perete — not unless Batocabe’s wife will use the widow strategy. Another scenario is if Baldo will work double time and clear his name.
The original list of candidates for the mayoralty, vice mayoralty and Sangguniang Bayan candidates for Daraga is as follows:
- BALDO, CARLWYN GO (Lakas CMD)
- BATOCABE, RODEL MASIGAN (NUP)
- PERETE, VICTOR UY (PDP-Laban)
- ESPINAS, JOSEPH MANILA (Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan or PDDS)
- JAUCIAN, GERRY RAPHAEL JR. ZAPANTA (PDP-Laban)
- MARCELLANA, JOEY MADARA (LIBERAL PARTY or LP)
- BAJAMUNDI, ARCHIE MILLENA (PDP-Laban)
- BARAJAS, LORETO ASCUTIA (LP)
- BAUSA, TERESA LAYSON (PDP-Laban)
- BAYLON, CARLOS VELILLA (PDP-Laban)
- COMIA, LOLITO LUMANGLAS (LP)
- DE LUMEN, LEONIDES TEOFILO II (Independent)
- DURAN, JULIUS LIM (Kusog Bikolandia)
- ESPEJO, LUIS DIANELA (Ind)
- LISTANA, PRINCESS AIMEE TUASON (Kusog Bikolandia)
- LLASOS, ALEXANDER MAGALLANO (Independent)
- LORICA, BILLY MAROLLANO (Independent)
- MAGALONA, BOBBY CASTUERA (Independent)
- MAGAYANES, DANTE (PDP-Laban)