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Duterte suspects Halili was killed due to illegal drugs

04 July 2018

"The bullet went through his chest", Superintendent Renato Mercado, Tanuan police chief, told local media.

A video recorded by a government employee, Gerry Laresma, captured the commotion that ensued following the sniper's shot.

Despite the administration's promise of safe community, the killing of Tanauan, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili showed that no one is safe now, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Tuesday.

"We are shocked, we are saddened", Vice Mayor Jhoanna Villamor, who was standing beside Halili, said. Halili was pronounced dead at hospital.

On Monday, Albayalde, the police chief, said investigators would try to determine if the killing was connected to Halili's anti-drug campaign.

Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque condemned the crime and praised Halili as the mayor of "one of the most progressive towns", in his province.

In Leyte, President Rodrigo Duterte likened Halili to slain mayors Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City and Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte, who were linked to the illegal drug trade.

The senator said Halili's killing possibly rode on the wave of killings in the country and it could be directly attributed to the climate of killing and impunity allegedly created and nurtured by Duterte "which has disturbingly devalued human life". "Kunwari ipa-procession ang mga addicts, siya pala, siya 'yun", said Duterte. Halili strongly denied the allegation and said at the time that he would resign and would be willing to be publicly paraded as a drug suspect if authorities could come up with evidence to support the allegation.

In January 2017, Duterte explicitly warned that mayors tied to drug crime would be shot to death in public.

Since the Philippine government launched its all-out campaign on drugs in July 2016, it says more than 4,000 suspected drug users and dealers have died in police operations. We reiterate: "the everyday killings of our citizens do not and will not solve the drug problem", Pangilinan said.

"They call me the "Duterte of Batangas" Halili told CNN in 2016.

"We did not just lose a mayor but a father", one told CNN, adding that he always greeted them with a cheery "good morning" upon arriving at City Hall.

For its part, the New York-based Human Rights Watch demanded "a thorough investigation" of the killing.

He said he had stopped the practice of parading suspects, known in local media as the "walk of shame", when Duterte took office, saying that he didn't "want police to misconstrue" his actions. "He may have deprived many Tanauan residents of due process but that doesn't mean he should be deprived of it, too", HRW said. "Just those who do wrong".

The Palace official earlier refused to comment on Halili's inclusion in Duterte's list of narco-politicians. I do not know who killed him.

Duterte suspects Halili was killed due to illegal drugs