Albayalde says no pattern on killings of local officials

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Legazpi City (CNN Philippines, July 8) — The country's top cop said there was nothing to worry about the series of killings of local officials, as these were not related to each other.

"Wala naman tayong dapat ikabahala, wala tayong dapat ikatakot dahil hindi naman ito systematic, at hindi naman ito pattern. Sabi nga natin, hindi natin alam kung ito ay dahil sa politika. Marami kasing dahilan 'yan," Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director Oscar Albayalde said.

[Translation: We have nothing to worry or be scared about because this isn't systematic, and there is no pattern. As we've said, we don't know if this is politically-related. There could be a lot of reasons.]

"Alam naman natin dito sa ating bansa, basta election time, hindi natin maintindihan kung bakit before, during and after the elections ay mayroong namamatay na elected officials atsaka yung mga nananalo and even yung mga natatalo," Albayalde added.

[Translation: As we all know, here in the country, before, during and after the elections there were killings of elected officials and even those who do not win. We don't really understand it.]

Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili was killed on July 2, during flag ceremony on the grounds of the city hall.

On July 3, Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote was killed by several suspects.

Three locally elected officials were killed on July 7:  Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan of Trece Martires City, Cavite; Michael Magallanes, third councilor of Brgy. Sta. Catalina, Zamboanga City; and Nassif Palawan Bansil, municipal councilor of Kapatagan, Lanao del Sur.

Authorities are looking into the motives behind the killings, but Albayalde said Lubigan's family thinks his death may be politically-related.

Albayalde added Lubigan was not involved in illegal drugs.

"We're doing everything to solve these cases... We want to assure the public that we're doing everything to investigate and solve these cases and give justice kung kanino nararapat [to those who deserve it]," he said.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' Newsroom Weekend Sunday, PNP Spokesperson Bong Durana said that the speculation that President Rodrigo Duterte might use these killings to justify the declaration of martial law is "unfounded."

That's so much of a stretch. That's unfounded," Durana said. "This kind of impression will not help in serving the public."

War on drugs gaining momentum

Albayalde also stressed the government's war on drugs was gaining momentum since reform and internal cleansing within PNP was being done to get rid of scalawags in the organization.

"We are winning in the war on drugs. Maganda yung momentum na ini-start sa pag-upo ng ating Presidente nang dating Chief PNP na si Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, kaya nga kino-continue lang natin ito," he said.

[Translation: We are winning in the war on drugs. The momentum that was started when the President took office as well as the former Chief PNP, Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, so we are continuing it.]

Albayalde said they have been tougher in cleaning police ranks of rogue cops.

"Kung wala naman talagang ginagawa yung mga kapulisan natin, then wala naman tayong ikabahala din. We just want them to, number one is to follow the rule of law, and of course yung sabi nga natin, respect for human rights," he said.

[Translation: If our policemen are doing nothing wrong, then they have nothing to worry about. We just want them to follow the rule of law and respect human rights.]

As a result, a 21.5 percent decrease in crimes against properties across the Philippines was registered, with an almost 60 percent decrease in the National Capital Region alone.

CNN Philippines' Senior Digital Producer Pia Garcia, and Bicol-based stringer Rosas Olarte contributed to this report.