Just a day after a city mayor was shot dead by a sniper, another Philippine local politician has been gunned down.
Motorcycle-riding gunmen today (Tuesday, July 3) assassinated Ferdinand Bote, the Mayor of General Tinio, the capital town of Nueva Ecija province.
Only yesterday, a sniper shot and killed Antonio Halili, the mayor of Tanauan City in Batangas province, as he sang the national anthem at a flag-raising ceremony.
Bote, aged 57, becomes the twelfth local elected official murdered since President Duterte unleashed his war on drugs in 2016.
However, unlike some of the other assassinated officials, Mr Bote has not been publicly linked to the drug trade.
He and his driver were leaving a government office when gunmen approached his Toyota Fortuner and shot him dead, said Adrian Gabriel, the city’s police chief.
“He was repeatedly shot with the use of a short firearm,” police said in an initial report. The driver escaped unhurt. Police retrieved at least 18 empty shells at the scene.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government would spare no effort in getting to the bottom of the killing.
“We assure everyone that we will discharge the state obligation for every murder,” he said in a statement, promising a fair and thorough investigation by police to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Following yesterday’s shooting of Mayor Halili, who had caused controversy by parading drug suspects in the streets of his city, President Duterte said the mayor may have been involved in the drug trade. He also suggested that his “walk of shame” campaign was an effort to deflect attention from his own activities.
At Mr Halili’s wake, his daughter Angeline told reporters it was unfair to link her father to the drug trade, and said the president had been misinformed.
“I can’t blame the president,” she added. “If that’s always what you hear from the same people that you talk to — and they keep telling you the same thing — it gets in your system to the point that you believe it, even though it’s a lie.”
Mr Halili was stripped of his supervisory powers over police last October due to a proliferation of drugs in his city that the national police said he may have been involved with. Mr Halili had denied the allegations.
Today police announced that they were looking at three “persons of interest” in relation to the killing, two of them “drug-related”.
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