MANILA - The fatal ambush on Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote is the brainchild of a public contractor, the Philippine National Police said Monday.
Bote and his driver were leaving a government office in the capital of Nueva Ecija when motorcycle-riding gunmen approached his vehicle and shot him repeatedly last July 3.
Two suspected gunmen were arrested in Camarines Sur last week, while their alleged driver surrendered to authorities.
The 3 suspects, in an extra-judicial confession, tagged Christian Saquilabon, a contractor in Nueva Ecija, as the alleged mastermind in Bote's murder, Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Amador Corpus told reporters.
Rivalry over government projects between Saquilabon and the Bote family's construction business may have been the motive, added the official.
Saquilabon remains at large, along with a certain Jun-jun Fajardo, the gunmen's alleged "spotter," and 3 other unidentified suspects, said Corpus.
Bote was the second of 3 city officials killed this month.
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 July 7. The broad daylight attack outside a hospital instantly killed the vice mayor and a bodyguard.
In the wake of the killings, the PNP arrested 10 members of gun-for-hire gangs and killed a suspected hitman in a shootout, said PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.