Drugs, politics seen as motive in Cebu small town mayor's murder

Drugs, politics seen as motive in Cebu small town mayor's murder

The Philippine National Police (PNP) sacked on Thursday, September 6, Police Senior Inspector JR Palcon, the police chief of Ronda in Cebu following the killing of town mayor Mariano Blanco III inside his office.

Albero said an undetermined number of suspects then proceeded to the second floor where the mayor's office is located, after which, the witnesses said they heard a burst of gunfire.

In July, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines - which comprises 68 mayors from the main cities in the country - requested a meeting with the President to address the assassinations of local officials and their involvement with the government's so-called "narco list". The employees then rushed to the mayor's office, where they found Blanco dead.

In total, more than 15 mayors and vice-mayors have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in mid-2016, according to CNN Philippines. Since taking office, the strongman president has waged a brutal war on drugs which has left at least 12,000 people dead, according to Human Rights Watch.

In 2016, a self-described hit man told The New York Times that Duterte presided over the extrajudicial killings of almost 1,000 criminal suspects and political opponents before becoming president.

Ungab was the vice mayor of Ronda town when he was killed.

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Under the terms of this order, Blanco could not choose the town's chief of police, inspect police personnel or exercise any other functions related to the local police.

Blanco is the third Philippines mayor to be shot dead in three months.

Seven months ago, Blanco's nephew, Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab, was also gunned down outside Cebu City's courthouse.

In early May 2016, just before the elections, Mr. Blanco reported that unidentified armed men fired upon his service vehicle while he was on his way to a campaign sortie. The dead come from both sides of the drug war, whether involved in its prosecution or suspected of links to narcotics gangs. Halili was widely known for parading drug suspects on "walks of shame", but was later accused by Duterte of being linked to the drug trade himself.

Khalili was killed during the flag-raising ceremony near the city hall, and the Bot was shot by a motorcyclist.

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