Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Philippine mayor on Duterte’s ‘narco-list’ shot by sniper

A Philippine mayor on President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of allegedly narcotics-linked officials was shot dead Monday by a “sniper” in a broad daylight attack at a town ceremony, police said.

Antonio Halili was hit in the chest by a single shot fired from a distance, unleashing chaotic scenes during the weekly flag raising ceremony at the town hall in Tanauan, south of Manila.

In the moments that followed, terrified onlookers screamed and the mayor’s security details opened fire, video of the scene showed.

However, the shooter managed to escape and Halili was pronounced dead at hospital.

Town police chief Renato Mercado told AFP the shot was fired from about 150 metres away.

“The distance from the position was extraordinary. It could not be done by an ordinary person. His skill can be compared to a trained sniper,” he told AFP.

The controversial Halili had compared himself to Duterte as he publicly shared the president’s hardline position against crime and illegal drugs.

But in 2017, Halili’s name surfaced on a “narco-list” presented by Duterte, of officials allegedly linked to narcotics.

Halili was stripped of control of the police following the publication of the list, but he denied any ties to drugs.

Though the Philippines sees occasional slayings of local politicians, the brazen nature of the killing and links to Duterte’s drug war drew immediate outrage.

“This is clearly another case of EJK (extra-judicial killing) resulting from the so-called drug war launched by the government,” opposition leader Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.

“It is this Philippine image of a ‘wild, wild west’ that has also dampened the desire of both foreign and local investors,” he added.

The government has said that more than 4 200 suspects have been killed as part of the war on drugs that is the centrepiece of Duterte’s administration.

But 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.

Three other mayors on the “narco-list” have been shot dead, one of them while being held inside a jail cell.

Mercado, the Tanauan police chief, said that the killing may be linked to the illegal drugs allegations.

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

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Agency
External source

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

‘The children cannot cope any more’: Suicide in Calvinia highlights...

How Covid-19 has intensified the physical and emotional burdens placed on children’s shoulders.

More top stories

Sisters pave the way with ecobricks

The durable bricks are made from 30% recycled plastic, some of which they collect from a network of 50 waste pickers

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

Farmers squeezed by big retailers

It may be beneficial for consumers when supermarkets push to get the lowest price from suppliers, but it can harm the farmers

Covid-19: No vaccine booster shots needed yet

Scientists agree it is important to get most of the population vaccinated before giving booster jabs
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×