Daraga mayor released from jail, eyes return to municipal hall

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Daraga Mayor Albay Carlwyn Baldo allegedly hired six individuals to gun down mayoral candidate Rodel Batocabe and his security on December 22.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, tagged as the mastermind in the killing of AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, has been released from jail after posting a ₱3-million bail for illegal possession of firearms.

After being released from his detention cell in the police headquarters in Legazpi City this afternoon, Baldo is now eyeing to return to work as Daraga mayor. Daraga Vice Mayor Victor Perete is currently acting as the town's chief executive, upon orders of the Commission on Elections.

Baldo's lawyer Lovensky Fernandez told CNN Philippines that there is no case filed against his client which would prohibit him from returning to work as the town's mayor.

The town mayor was happy and calm when he emerged from the police headquarters with his family and supporters, but did not speak to the media. Fernandez said Baldo will first rest in his home.

Fernandez said they have asked the Camarines Sur provincial prosecutor for 20 more days to submit a counter affidavit on the murder complaints filed against the Baldo in connection with the fatal shooting of Batocabe and his police security detail.

In a statement, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it "bows to the majesty of the law" and accepts the court's decision to allow Baldo to post bail.

"We shall monitor his movements from time to time and account for his presence during court hearings," PNP spokesperson SSupt. Bernard Banac said.

Six other suspects in the killing of Batocabe are under police custody. All of them point to the Daraga mayor as the brains behind the assassination of the congressmen, who was running for mayor against Baldo and Perete.

Baldo has repeatedly insisted on his innocence.

Albay-based journalist Rosas Olarte and CNN Philippines Correspondent Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.