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Death of DPWH official a mystery among Antiqueños

By: Ben R. Rosario

Various civic and media groups in Antique yesterday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to order an investigation into the mysterious death of a Department of Public Works and Highways official that police initially ruled as suicide.

But the body of DPWH Antique district engineer Arnel Rebeta, found last July 9 in his boarding house in Jaro, Iloilo City, bore bullet wounds in the mouth and chest from a .45 caliber pistol.

The initial findings were quickly rejected by concerned quarters in Antique but police remained convinced Rebeta shot himself.

Appalled by what appeared to be sloppy police probe, Antique media practitioners and civic leaders aired their strong suspicion that the death of Rebeta could be work related.

“This is not a simple case of suicide. There is more to it than meets the eye,” said veteran newsman Wilson Geronimo of Radio Bandera.

Geronimo said before Rebeta was found dead, he was reportedly scolded by Antique Congressman Paulo Javier for failing to invite him to the inauguration of a new public works project in the province.

He added it is public knowledge in Antique that since Rebeta replaced Gerard Pacanan as District Engineer March of this year, the newly-designated has reportedly refused to give in to the demands of the congressman.

“Mr. Rebeta told me, during an interview, that he has inherited so many problems in his office. He said several infrastructure projects have not been implemented on time, resulting in the poor rating of the district,” said Geronimo.