2 suspects in N. Ecija mayor's slay nabbed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2018 11:19 AM | Updated as of Jul 11 2018 07:39 PM

MANILA - (3rd UPDATE) Two suspects in the killing of a mayor in Nueva Ecija province have been arrested, police said Wednesday. 

Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio town, Nueva Ecija, and his driver were leaving a government office in the capital of Cabanatuan City when motorcycle-riding gunmen approached his vehicle and shot him repeatedly last July 3. 

The suspects were arrested at a checkpoint in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. They were on board a Toyota Avanza bearing a license plate that was reported lost, police said in a spot report. 

A caliber .45 gun was recovered from the vehicle, police said. 

Philippine National Police spokesperson Sr. Supt. Benigno Durana on Wednesday afternoon told ANC that the suspects are currently detained at the Bicol Police Regional Office.

He added that initial investigation showed that the motive for the killing is business-related.

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"It appears that the motive of the killing was related to the business dealings of the late mayor," he said.

Authorities were hunting down two more suspected gunmen, ABS-CBN sources said. 

Bote was the second of three city officials killed last week. 

Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili of Batangas, whom President Rodrigo Duterte linked to the narcotics trade, was shot dead during a flag-raising ceremony at his city hall last July 2. 

Trece Martires, Cavite Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan, meanwhile, was on board his sports utility vehicle when assailants in another SUV opened fire last Saturday. The broad daylight attack outside a hospital instantly killed the vice mayor and a bodyguard. 

-With a report from Mylce Mella, ABS-CBN News