Cries for justice ring out at mayor’s burial
GENERAL TINIO, Nueva Ecija — Vowing to fight for justice, thousands of residents, friends and relatives joined the family of Mayor Ferdinand Bote on Tuesday in burying him at the town cemetery.
“We will not rest until my father’s killers face justice,” said Dr. Angelo Bote, who spoke on behalf of the family. “We will continue to fight for justice,” he said, giving voice to Bote’s friends and relatives who wore white or black shirts bearing the phrase “Justice for Mayor Bote.”
Bote was attacked by gunmen on July 3 as his vehicle left the compound of the National Irrigation Administration in Cabanatuan City.
On Tuesday, some residents closed their shops or stores and broke their daily routines to join the funeral procession that brought Bote’s casket from the sports complex to the Bethany United Methodist Church here.
The procession wove through the town’s major streets, led by a truck carrying the casket. It was accompanied by police honor guards.
Bote’s 1977 high school batchmates wore red armbands and chanted, “Justice for mayor,” when Bote was finally buried.
The mayor’s son said the family’s pain at losing their father “in such a violent manner was excruciating, but the presence of so many people helped ease our anguish.”
Police were looking into Bote’s political and professional dealings.
Late in 2017, Bote had asked the Commission on Audit to look into the bidding of a P94-million irrigation canal project which was allegedly undertaken without the required program of work, according to a source privy to the mayor’s recent activities.
On Sunday, the Diocese of Cabanatuan expressed alarm over the series of killings involving elected officials and priests, saying it has been “creating orphans” in Nueva Ecija.
“Three weeks after the parish church of San Vicente Ferrer in Zaragoza town lost Fr. Richmond Nilo to a murderer, General Tinio also lost the father of the town,” said Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud in a statement that was read in the diocese’s churches.
Nilo was shot dead as he prepared to celebrate Mass at the Nuestra Señora delas Nieves chapel in Barangay Mayamot, Zaragoza, on June 10.
On Dec. 4 last year, retired priest Marcelito Paez was shot and killed in Jaen town after he helped facilitate the release of a political prisoner in Cabanatuan City.
Since the ambush of Bote, police had put up more checkpoints, Senior Supt. Eliseo Tanding, Nueva Ecija police director, said on Monday. —Armand Galang
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