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Police crack Bote slay case

A dispute on the construction project at the Minalungao Eco-Tourism Park in Nueva Ecija could be the the motive behind the killing of General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote.

Chief Supt. Amado Corpus, director of the Central Luzon regional police, said the two alleged gunmen arrested in Camarines Sur last week were the ones who squealed the name of Christian Saquilabon as the one who paid and ordered them to gun down Bote in front of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) local office in Cabanatuan City.

Saquilabon is said to be the manager of a construction firm in the province.

“They (gunmen) were paid P25,000 for it. Based on the judicial confession of the suspects on our custody, it was Christian Saquilabon who allegedly contacted them for the (killing) contract,” said Corpus.

The gunmen were identified as Florencio Suarez and Robertlyn Gumatay who were arrested in Camarines Sur and Arnold Gamboa who surrendered to the police after the killing of Bote.

Corpus said Saquilabon appeared to be a long acquaintance of Suarez as he was the one who contacted the latter for a plan to liquidate Bote.

The said meeting wherein the assassination attempt was hatched happened two to three days before Bote was shot dead.
“Aside from the judicial confession, the confirmatory forensics on the firearms seized from Suarez and Gumatay during their arrest proved to be used in the killing of Mayor Bote, and therefore made them credible,” said Corpus.

Besides, he said that the vehicle which Suarez was driving when they were arrested were monitored through the CCTVs and was tailed until the arrest was made last week.

Based on the link diagram presented in yesterday’s press briefing at Camp Crame, a total of eight suspects are believed to have participated in the killing.

One of them was a lookout identified as a certain Jun Fajardo who was the one who asked the NIA guards to use the comfort room prior to the killing of Bote but was eventually seen leading the gunmen towards the escape route.

“We are not discounting the possibility that someone higher than Saquilabon could have ordered and financed the killing,” he added.

Director Roel Obusan, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said both Saquilabon and Bote have misunderstandings on projects in Nueva Ecija. Both Saquilabon and Bote are into construction business in the province.

The last straw appeared to be the P96 million worth of eco-tourism project which was awarded to the company owned by Saquilabon.

The site project is for the Minalungao Tourism Convergence Park which is located in General Tinio town where Bote was the mayor. Both the firms they owned reportedly bid for the project but was awarded by the national government to the firm owned by Saquilabon.

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