AUTHORITIES arrested the prime suspect in the 2008 killing of a Filipino-Chinese businesswoman in Calinan, Davao City last week.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Southeastern Mindanao Regional Office said Ernesto Basa, alias Tata, was arrested on July 1 while walking at the vicinity of Victoria Plaza with two other companions.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

NBI spokesperson, lawyer Archie Albao, who led the operation, said they were alerted by their informants about Basa's presence in the downtown area.

Basa is tagged by witnesses as the one responsible in the murder of Florencia Tan Tobiano of Villafuerte St., Calinan.

The witnesses, Fe Bartolay and Cheerylyn Dayatdayatan, both working for Tobiano, claimed they saw the suspect holding a bloodied knife in front of a lifeless Tobiano at around 7 p.m. of June 8, 2008.

NBI is looking at robbery as the motive for Tobiano's slay. The suspect, during the interrogation, said as a former worker for Tobiano, he was made to carry sacks of fertilizers and paid only P20.

Albao said Tobiano, also known as Chabu, earlier filed a case against Basa for serious physical injuries back in 2002.

In her complaint, Tobiano testified that on December 11, 2002, Basa hit her face with a stone while she was attending to her store, Ting Kuan Trading.

The incident caused Tobiano's blindness.

Basa was reportedly arrested in 2002 but bolted jail.

"We don't know how he escaped because Calinan Police Station handled both of the cases," Albao said.

"We do know that Basa worked for Tobiano's sister, who also had a store, back in 2002. After he escaped prison, he went back in 2008, his identity unnoticed by the other workers," Albao added.

Robbery with homicide charges have already been filed against the suspect. (Marie Angeli A. Laxa)