SAN ANTONIO, Nueva Ecija -- Mayor Arvin C. Salonga has called on the Philippine National Police to dig deeper into the case of murdered General Tinio mayor Ferdinand Bote in order to determine if there were others involved higher than government contractor Christian Saquilabon, who was tagged as the alleged mastermind in the killing.
“Mas laliman pa dapat ng PNP ang kanilang imbestigasyon, huwag lang sila sumentro kay Christian Saquilabon,” said Salonga, who added that if Saquilabon was just a “dummy,” and could name the “true mastermind,” he may qualify as a “state witness” in the said murder case.
The mayor’s statements came following earlier pronouncements made by Chief PNP Director-General Oscar Albayalde about the possibility that “someone higher than Saquilabon could have ordered and financed Bote’s killing.”
Saquilabon, who still remains at large, was tagged as the alleged brains by his three other cohorts, who were earlier arrested and pointed to him as the one who ordered the hit on Mayor Bote over the disputed P96-million contract to build the Minalungao Tourism Convergence Zone in General Tinio.
His construction firm, Forthright Construction won the bidding for the said Department of Public Works and Highways project but it encountered difficulties in implementing the project due to the delay in the issuance of necessary permits by the local government unit.
Salonga, a former provincial chapter president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, appealed to Saquilabon to immediately surface and reveal the truth in order to give true justice to Bote’s death.
“Christian kung nasaan ka man, sana lumutang na siya at aminin na niya at ilabas ang katotohanan kung may iba pang tao na nasa likod niya. Bakit siya nagtatago, baka naman mayroon siyang pinagtatakpang iba,” said Salonga, who admitted knowing Saquilabon on a professional basis because his firm also had prior contract projects with the municipal government including an on-going P60-million slope protection project in Bgy. Sto. Cristo.
Salonga said he is willing to extend help to the beleaguered contractor in so far as protecting his rights and ensuring his safety and security as an accused in the said murder case.