Duterte suspects Tanauan mayor killed due to drug links

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 2) — President Rodrigo Duterte suspects drug ties could be behind the death of a controversial mayor.

Tanauan, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili, known for his anti-crime crusade, was shot dead on Monday as he presided over the flag ceremony on the grounds of the city hall, police said.

Speaking at an event in Maasin City, Southern Leyte Monday, Duterte said, "It was just a front. His parading of drug addicts was a pretense. It's him. Earlier, he was killed. I don't know who shot him."


Halili had made headlines for his controversial "Walk of Shame" campaign against illegal drugs where he asked drug suspects to parade around the city wearing placards saying, "Ako'y pusher. Wag tularan."

The President said he had found out about Halili's death and added "suspetsa pa rin namin ay droga [we suspect it's drugs]. Suspect lang, suspect."

In an interview with CNN Philippines Monday, Regional Chief Superintendent Edward Carranza said Halli was a "high-value target based on the NAPOLCOM Resolution No. 2017-570, wherein it stated the withdrawal of the power and operational supervision of the Mayor of Tanauan over the Philippine National Police, but on the basis that the mayor was reportedly engaged in illegal drug trade together with four other mayors in Regions IV-A." :

Carranza's revelation comes in stark contrast to Halili's reputation as an ally to the administration's war on drugs.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque condemned the killing and called the mayor as a supporter of the administration's war on illegal drugs.

He vowed justice will be served.