A mayor shot dead in La Union has become the 11th local chief executive assassinated in the two years since President Duterte took office.
Mayor Alexander Buquing of Sudipen was gunned down late last night (Monday, October 1) along with a police officer, Rolando Juanbe and his driver Boni Depdepen. His wife, Wendy Joy Buquing was injured in the ambush attack and is now under police protection in hospital.
At a press briefing today, police spokesman Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana said: “So far we see that this is the 11th mayor.” He also noted that six vice mayors had been killed during the current administration.
He also said the PNP had formed a national investigation task force to probe on killings against local executives to prevent “wrong criticisms”.
According to Durana, the number of attacks on mayors and vice mayors historically spike as elections approach. The next midterm elections will happen in 2019.
The Malacañang has condemned the killing and vowed to conduct a fast investigation to arrest the culprit.
“Like all killings, we condemn it and we commit to conduct a fast investigation to uncover the individuals behind this latest attack,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
Previously, in 2016, Samsudin Dimaukom, the mayor of Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao was killed in an armed encounter.
On November 5, 2016, Albuera Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Senior was killed in an armed encounter inside his jail cell.
The following month, Pantar Lanao del Norte Mayor Mohammad Exchan Limbona was killed in an ambush.
The mayor of Marcos town in Ilocos Norte, Arsenio Agustin, was also killed in an ambush.
Balete’s Leovino Hidalgo was shot dead amid a basketball competition.
In July 30, 2017, Ozamiz City’s Reynaldo Parojinog was killed during a raid that claimed another 11 lives.
This year, five mayors have been killed.
Buenavista’s Ronald Lowell Tirol, was killed in a cockpit arena while Tanauan City’s Antonio Halili was shot dead during a flag raising ceremony in front of city hall.
General Tinio’s Ferdinand Bote was killed in an ambush while Ronda’s Mariano Blanco was killed inside the town hall.
The vice mayors who have been murdered since August 2016 are:
- Pamplona, Cagayan, Aaron Sampaga
- Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Anwar Sindatuk
- Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, Jackson Cinco Dy
- Ronda, Cebu, Jonah John Ungab
- Trece Martires, Cavite, Alexander Lubigan
- Sapa-Sapa, Tawi-Tawi, Al-Rashid Mohammad Ali
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