A mayor who paraded suspected drug dealers through the streets of his city has been shot dead by a sniper while singing the national anthem.
Mayor Antonio Cando Halili was declared dead on arrival at hospital today (Monday, July 2) from a single bullet wound to the chest. He was shot as he and civil servants were conducting a flag-raising ceremony in Tanauan, a city in Batangas province.
“We are shocked, we are saddened,” Vice Mayor Jhoanna Villamor, who was standing beside Halili, told radio station DZBB.
Halili gained prominence for introducing a ‘walk of shame’ parade of alleged drug dealers through his city centre.
However, he was stripped of his supervisory powers over local police last October due to a proliferation of illegal drugs under his watch. It was alleged by the national police that he may have been involved. Halili denied this.
Reacting to the sniper shooting today, President Duterte backed this accusation.
Speaking during the anniversary of Maasin City, in Southern Leyte, he said: “Earlier, Halili in Batangas. He pretended to shame addicts by parading them, but he was involved, it was him. I suspect he was into drugs. I just suspect.”
These remarks contradict those of presidential spokesman Harry Roque who earlier today called Halili a staunch ally of the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Also in his speech today, the president likened Halili to other high-profile mayors who have been killed during his administration – namely Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz in Misamis Occidental and Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte.
The two mayors were in the president’s list of ‘narcopoliticians’ and both were killed in police operations.
The president has repeatedly warned he would kill anyone involved in illegal drug trafficking, including local government executives.
In an interview with Reuters in August 2016 Halili publicly backed the narcotics crackdown but expressed concern that he might be accused of colluding with drug gangs.
“No one is safe – mayors, governors, congressmen – just a false intelligence report by the police can end up with any of them being destroyed,” he said.
Gepostet von Gerry Yson Laresma am Sonntag, 1. Juli 2018