P60-M Ecija projects delayed due to absence of gov’t contractor tagged in Mayor Bote’s slay

September 23, 2018

SAN Antonio, Nueva Ecija -- Mayor Arvin C. Salonga on Friday expressed concern about the delay in the construction of two slope protection dike pro-jects worth P60 million which were earlier awarded to government contractor Forthright Construction, whose owner Christian Saquilabon still remains at large after being slapped with murder charges along with seven others for the gun-slaying of General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote in Cabanatuan City last July 3.

“Iyan nga ang problema ko hanggang nga-yon, hindi pa naumpisa-han ang dalawang projects ni Christian,” said Salonga, referring to the two slope protection dike projects in Bgys. Sto. Cristo and Papaya worth P30 million each, which have yet to start construction after being awarded to Forthright Construction.

Saquilabon remains at large and has yet to surface following the filing of murder charges against him before the city prosecutor’s office in Cabanatuan City last July 18 in connection with the killing of Mayor Bote at the National Irrigation Administration office last July 3.

Aside from Saquilabon, also charged with  murder were his seven other co-accused, identified as Florencio Suarez, 48, Robertlyn Gumatay, 35, Arnold Gamboa, 37, Jun-jun Fajardo, and three John Does/Jane Does. Suarez, Gumatay and Gamboa are already in police custody.

Salonga said he would personally meet Public Works and Highways Sec. Mark A. Villar to bring up the matter and asked him if the delayed project could still be possibly rebidded given the circumstances.

As much as possible, the mayor explained that he does not want the said project to encounter any legal problems or impediments in so far as its re-implementation is concerned.

Last Friday afternoon, it was learned that the DPWH-2nd Nueva Ecija Engineering District Office under District Engineer Ricardo M. Puno informed Mayor Salonga that the delayed project will be continued by Sa-quilabon’s father, who has reportedly taken over the management of Forthright Construction.

If the project is continued, Salonga said he does not want it done on a “sub-contract” basis. “Ayoko ng sub-con, bawal iyon,” he said.