A mayor on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of allegedly narcotics-linked officials was shot dead yesterday by a “sniper” in a broad daylight attack at a town ceremony, police said.
Tanauan Mayor 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 town south of Manila.
He and about 300 employees and newly elected village leaders were singing the national anthem in a parking lot outside the city hall when he was shot.
In the moments that followed, terrified onlookers screamed and the mayor’s security details opened fire, video of the scene showed.
“I didn’t know that it was gunfire until people started screaming ‘Somebody’s shooting, somebody’s shooting’ while running in all directions and I saw my mayor slumped on the ground,” village leader Rico Alcazar, who was in a crowd standing behind the 72-year-old Halili, told The Associated Press. “Everybody was shocked and it took sometime before some carried the mayor and brought him away in a car.”
The shooter managed to escape and Halili was pronounced dead at hospital.
Town police chief Renato Mercado said the shot was fired from about 150m 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 said.
The controversial Halili had compared himself to Duterte as he publicly shared the president’s hardline position against crime and illegal drugs, but last year 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,” Philippine Senator Francis Pangilinan, an opposition leader, 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, 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.
Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque condemned the crime and praised Halili as the mayor of “one of the most progressive towns” in his province.
Additional reporting by AP
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of