Philippines: Mayor of Ronda city shot dead inside his office

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte points to a piece of paper containing a list of personalities he alleges are involved with the drug trade during a speech he gave in 2016. — File pic

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte points to a piece of paper containing a list of personalities he alleges are involved with the drug trade during a speech he gave in 2016. — File pic

But before they reached the place, the operative received a call from fellow policemen that Blanco was killed by unknown assailants inside the municipal hall of Ronda, reportedly prompting Palcon and his men to return to the station.

Blanco and Halili are among at least six mayors or vice mayors killed in the Philippines since May.

Blanco was on the blacklist of public officials allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade that was ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte as part of his war on drugs campaign.

The director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) said they are now looking at all possible angles in the killing of Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco III on Wednesday morning and his alleged involvement in drugs.

Staff Sergeant Dionisio Tagupa of the Ronda police told the newspaper that four armed men pulled up outside the town's municipal hall in a white van, forcing two watchmen to the ground at gunpoint.

Rights groups charge that the actual death toll is three times higher and that the police and shadowy vigilantes are murdering people even without proof they are linked to drugs.

In an earlier interview, sacked town police chief Palcon explained that when Mayor Blanco was killed, only 2 cops were inside the police station.

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It took a few moments for the crowd to realise what happened, but they quickly rushed the candidate out of the street. Bolsonaro screamed in pain after being stabbed in his abdomen, then fell backward into the arms of those around him.

Mr Blanco, 59, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen after midnight in his office, the local police chief said.

In February 2018, Blanco's nephew, vice mayor Jonah John Ungab was killed shortly after attending a hearing for his client, self-confessed drug trader Kerwin Espinosa.

Duterte and the police have denied a policy of condoning illegal killings and cite the deaths of many policemen in clashes as proof of the danger posed by drug suspects.

Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili was shot by a sniper in July during a flag-raising ceremony outside of the City Hall.

Police have said that some of the killings may have been politically motivated.

Blanco, who was among the alleged narco-politicians publicly identified by President Duterte, suffered five bullet wounds on his body. Since then he has taken care to vary his routine, including by sleeping in his office from time to time.

In an interview with radio station DWIZ past year, Blanco said he feared for his life having been linked to the drug trade.

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