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Anti-Narco Mayor Killed as the President Spruiks Violence

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on July 4, 2018 00:58

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When you have a president who preaches and encourages violence, we can expect a series of killings to be carried out throughout the country.

The sky was cloudy white on that Monday morning on July 2. He was attending the flag raising ceremony when he heard a loud gunshot in the middle of the singing of the national anthem. Whether it was an M16 or M4 rifle was yet to be determined. But it was a military-grade weapon.

In a grassy field about 200 meters away, the shooter was hiding in a sniper’s hole. A military-trained marksman, he fired a single shot. And that was all he needed to get the job done.

Those in attendance of the ceremony have dispersed, a purely human instinct when threatened, running for safety. Antonio Halili fell, lying on the ground, holding his chest, drowned in blood. A 5.56-millimetre bullet landed on his left chest and pierced his heart. He was declared dead by 8:45 am.

Halili was the city mayor of Tanauan, Batangas, approximately 60 kilometres south of Manila. He was 72 when he succumbed to the gunshot wound.

Rodrigo Duterte was in Maasin, Southern Leyte celebrating the city’s founding anniversary when the news broke out. He did not mince words when asked for a statement on Halili’s death, calling the slain mayor “pretentious.”

“He pretends that the illegal drug problem is getting worse; he pretends to parade the drug addicts. He was killed earlier. I don’t know who killed him. I said not to get involved in illegal drugs,” Duterte said.

Contrary to Duterte’s claim, Halili has built the reputation of an anti-drugs crusader, parading arrested drug peddlers on the streets with his “Walk of Shame” stunt which was renamed “Walk of Change” to give it a positive spin.

In a way, Duterte has an ally in Halili in his campaign against illegal drugs. But in a stark contrast to the president, the mayor opposed extrajudicial killing. If Halili was involved in the drug trade, he must be on the opposite side.

Senator Leila de Lima, a detained critic of Duterte, gave an insightful comment, “Duterte may not have fired the gun that killed Mayor Antonio Halili… but he most certainly murdered him with his words.”

“It might be true that words do not kill. But when one is the President, words become orders. This is how Duterte gives the killers their mandate to kill,” the senator continued.

The police investigation was ongoing. And a useful hint would be Duterte’s words alleging the slain mayor as a drug trader, therefore, a legitimate target of assassination. Also, in his speech to vice mayors on June 28, the president spruiked the killing of mayors so the vice mayors could succeed them in no time.

Halili was only one of the fourteen local executives killed during Duterte’s presidency.

When you have a president who preaches and encourages violence, we can expect a series of killings to be carried out throughout the country. Four more years before Duterte leaves office, and I fear more lives will be lost in this senseless violence.

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on July 4, 2018 00:58

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Source: Al Jazeera

We discuss how Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs won't solve the country's drug problem.

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