The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is looking into the disappearance of Engr. Evan Labonete and his business partner, Nicomedes Eguna, who went missing in January.
But the country’s top investigating body is still facing a blank wall as to what transpired and who could be involved.
At a press conference last Friday, Aldrin Mercader of the NBI anti-organized and trasnational crime division (AOTCD) presented a photo of an unidentified man who withdrew money from Labonete’s account from an ATM in Binangonan, Rizal in three separate occasions in January.
Mercader said an ATM withdrawal for P10,000 was made from Labonete’s account on Jan. 21. The following day, two more withdrawals for P7,000 and P700 were made.
The suspect’s photo Mercader presented was taken from the security camera footage of the third transaction.
Mercader, however, admitted that besides the suspect’s photo, they no longer have any other lead to get the case rolling.
Labonete, 52, and Nicomedes Eguna, 55, are building contractors. They own Civtric Trading and Services, a company that handles several projects including the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The NBI said Labonete and Eguna disappeared on their way to buy construction materials in Binondo on Jan. 19.
According to Labonete’s wife, Susan, she dropped off her husband at a store along Commonwealth Avenue to meet Eguna on the day they disappeared.
Eguna’s wife, Nimfa, said that on the same day, her husband informed her through a text message that he and Labonete would inspect a construction site in Cainta, Rizal.
The two has since disappeared.
The NBI has been handling the case since February after the wives of the missing contractors sought their help following futile attempts by the Cainta police to locate them.
The bureau said the disappearance cannot be considered a kidnapping case since there have been no indications that the two have been abducted and neither family has received ransom demands.
A report on the Philippine Star Friday, however, said that sometime in September last year, Labonete and Eguna received death threats over the construction of a health center in Pasay City.
According to the report, Susan Labonete disclosed that the business partners’ subcontractors in the said project, who allegedly have ties with the police, are behind the death threats.
Meanwhile, Ace Esmeralda, managing director of risk management firm Ace And Associates, Inc., told SecurityMatters that investigators should consider enlisting the help of security guards in the probe.
Security guards posted in establishments where Labonete and Eguna were last seen might be able to contribute vital information that could aid in retracing the steps of the two.
Guards manning the banks where the dubious ATM transactions on Labonete’s account were made could also be questioned in order to identify and track down the lone suspect.