CEBU – Various human rights groups have asked the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council to look into the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings in Cebu following the recent murder of a town mayor who was shot inside his office.
Mayor Mariano Blanco, of Ronda town, who was linked by President Rodrigo Duterte to illegal drug trade, was killed before dawn of September 5 by gunmen who barged inside his office. Blanco was sleeping in the office when the assailants arrived in a van and attacked him. The gunmen immediately escaped after murdering Blanco.
Prior to his killing, Blanco, who previously denied all accusations against him by Duterte, was also stripped last year of his police supervision in his town. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the murder.
Police said it is still investigating the killing. Since early this year, there had been over a hundred killings – mostly perpetrated by motorcycle gunmen – already in Cebu.
Even Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has appealed for an end to the culture of impunity in the province and called on the authorities to seriously address the series of killings.
In February this year, the town’s vice mayor, Jonah John Ungab, who was Blanco’s nephew, was also shot dead. Ungab, who was a lawyer and legal counsel of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, was driving his car when killed by motorcycle gunmen. Espino’s father, Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, of Leyte’s Albuera town, – tagged by Duterte as a drug lord – was also killed by policemen inside his prison cell.
A report by ABS-CBN, said Blanco was the 16th elected official killed under the Duterte administration. It identified the others as: Vice Mayor Aaron Sampaga of Pamplona town, Cagayan – August 5, 2016; Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, Maguindanao – October 28, 2016; Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera town, Leyte – November 5, 2016; Vice Mayor Anwar Sindatuk of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan town, Maguindanao – November 27, 2016; Mayor Mohammad Limbona of Pantar town, Lanao del Norte – December 30, 2016; Mayor Arsenio Agustin of Marcos town, Ilocos Norte – June 3, 2017; Mayor Joven Hidalgo of Balete town, Batangas – June 10, 2017.
And also Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental – July 30, 2017; Vice Mayor Jackson Dy of Roxas town, Oriental Mindoro – September 23, 2017; Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab of Ronda town, Cebu – February 19, 2018; Mayor Ronald Tirol of Buenavista town, Bohol – May 27, 2018; Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan City, Batangas – July 2, 2018; Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio town, Nueva Ecija – July 3, 2018; Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan of Trece Martires town, Cavite – July 7, 2018; and Vice Mayor Al-Rashid Mohammad Ali of Sapa-Sapa town, Tawi-Tawi – July 11, 2018. (Cebu Examiner)
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