A ranking Department of Public Works and Highways official said on Tuesday that a hotly-disputed public works project could be the motive behind the killing of General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote.
The mayor reportedly won the project, which, according to Public Works officials, was prohibited under the law.
According to Hercules Carreon, project engineer of Phase 1 of the more or less P120-million public works contract, at the time of Bote’s death, the mayor was working to complete the project.
Carreon, who is assigned at the construction division of the regional office of the Department of Public Works in Central Luzon said the project was awarded to Bote in 2017.
He added that the said public works project was awarded to the mayor, who won the bid using a Triple BBB license identified with Cairo Builders owned by a certain Kent Natividad of Guimba, Nueva Ecija.
Cairo Builders is considered by fellow contractors as the most influential and most favored contractor in Nueva Ecija and other provinces in Central Luzon especially those wo had worked with the company at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
Bote, who is a member of the PDP Laban, only had a ‘medium license’ to engage in the business.
Carreon said that more or less P120 million was allocated for a four-kilometer road widening project and two bridges leading to the Minalugan Eco Park in General Tinio in Nueva Ecija.
The project was won by the late mayor except for the two bridges, he said.
Carreon added that the Phase 2 of the project worth P96 million was awarded to a certain Christian Saquilabon by the district engineer office of Nueva Ecija.
He said that the Phase 2 of the project did not fall under his office since it cost less than P100 million.
Under DPWH rules, projects worth less than P 100 million should fall under the supervision of the District Engineer Office of any province.
The resident engineer of the P96 million project is Lino David of the District Engineer Office of Nueva Ecija who promised to called up through Carreon but did not do so until the project deadline.
Saquilabon, who was tagged by investigators as the
alleged mastermind behind Mayor Bote’s murder remains at large.
Investigators said that Saqulabon was given a difficult time by the mayor, especially on the issuance of the necessary permits to proceed with construction of the project.
Mayor Bote was allegedly killed by the suspects while he was about to leave the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) compound in Cabanatuan City three weeks ago.