By Aaron Recuenco
Police arrested on Wednesday a 48-year old man who was tagged as one of the suspects in the assassination of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote in Cabanatuan City last week.
Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, director of the Bicol regional police, said Florencio Suarez was collared in a checkpoint in Del Gallego town of Camarines Sur at around 9:30 a.m. along Andaya Highway in Barangay Kabansag Wendesday along with a passenger identified as Robert Gumacay.
“His vehicle (Toyota Avanza) was flagged down by our operatives there based on the early advice of police operatives who are investigating the case of Mayor Bote,” Escobal told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
“It turned out that this vehicle was already being tailed by police operatives all the way from Central Luzon,” he added.
Escobal said it was the coordination between the police unit pursuing the case of Mayor Bote and the local police which led to the arrest of Suarez.
The official said they are yet to be informed by the special investigating team probing the assassination of Mayor Bote as to the participation of Suarez in the killing.
“He is in our custody and will be turned to the proper police unit investigating the case,” said Escobal.
As to Gumacay, Escobal said there is still no advice from the police investigating the case on whether or not he is one of the suspects.
According to Escobal they recovered 45 cal. handgun from the suspects and are now verifying whether it was used in the killing.
Earlier, national police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said they already have positive development on the killing of Mayor Bote. He added that arrest may be made either this week or next week.
Albayalde also earlier said that three suspects are being pursued based on the review of all the CCTVs were the motorcycle they were riding in passed by.
Mayor Bote was shot dead while on board his vehicle which had just gone out of the compound of the local office of the National irrigation Administration. He was gunned down a day after Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili was felled by a sniper shot while attending a flag ceremony on Monday last week.
The brazen killing of Bote and Halili, along with the vice mayor of Trece Martirez in Cavite, has prompted the national police leadership to initiate early election security measures and a crackdown on gun-for-hire syndicates. (With a report from Raul Saldico and Niño Luces)