DARAGA, Albay - House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Sunday denounced anew the fatal shooting of a party-list representative, saying politics has degraded the value of human life.
AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, 52, was gunned down Saturday afternoon while giving out gifts as part of a Christmas event here. His security escort was also killed.
"I condemn what has happened. Life has become so cheap for politics," Arroyo told reporters during her visit to Batocabe's wake here.
"Nothing can justify that murder, the gruesome murder of both Cong. Batocabe and his police aide," she added.
With Arroyo at the wake were House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Albay Rep. Fernando Gonzalez and AKO Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin, Jr.
The motive behind Batocabe's killing was not immediately clear, but authorities said they were looking into whether the killing was politically motivated.
Batocabe, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, recently voiced concern that rivals in the local mayoral race were using armed groups to influence the vote, regional police official Arnel Escobel told Agence France-Presse.
Garbin said Batocabe received death threats but did not acknowledge these because he had no known political enemies.
Arroyo urged authorities to "conduct a speedy and thorough investigation" into the killing.
Batocabe's wake at the Arcilla Hall will be open to public at 2 p.m. Sunday.