Feud with ex-general, land dispute possible motives in Halili killing – PNP Chief

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Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 5) — More possible motives in the killing of Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili aside from his drug links and politics, have come out, Philippine National Police Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Thursday.

The police are also checking if a land dispute or Halili's feud with a former general could be the reason for the murder.

"Meron din siyang nakaaway na former general na high-ranking. That is part of the investigation," Albayalde said in an ambush interview at the 27th founding anniversary of the PNP Aviation Security Group.

In a media briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque described as unfounded talk that the government was behind Halili's assassination.

"That's a speculation, unfounded at that, because apparently iba't-ibang aspeto ang lumalabas sa pag-iimbestiga," he said.

Police previously said they were investigating if the killing was politically motivated or linked to Halili's alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade since the late mayor was on the government's narcolist.

Authorities held a reenactment Thursday of the shocking assassination during the flag ceremony at the Tanauan city hall on July 2.

The PNP said a spent shell of a 5.6 millimeter bullet was found in the empty lot where the unidentified gunman positioned himself for the hit. They clarified, however, that they still cannot say if this came from the gunman's firearm.

"We have to subject these firearms to cross matching with our data in the integrated ballistic information system of the PNP crime laboratory.  If the firearm used was a licensed firearm, ma-identify natin ang owner. In the event na ang firearm wala sa database natin, that's another problem," PNP Calabarzon Regional Director Chief Superintendent Edward Carranza said.

He insisted that Halili was not shot by a sniper, who opted to hit the mayor in the chest because he wasn't "confident" enough to go for a more accurate target: the head.

Carranza also said the gunman, who was still on the loose, was not working alone. 

The police established that the distance between the assassin and Halili was only 76.8 meters, not 160 meters, as they earlier reported. They also found that that the gunman had positioned himself on higher ground than where the mayor was standing.