A mayor in the northern Philippines was gunned down Tuesday afternoon, the second politician killed in the last 48 hours, police said.
Ferdinand Bote, 57, the mayor of General Tinio, a town in Nueva Ecija province, was in his car when a gunman on a motorcycle attacked him outside the government offices of the National Irrigation Administration, regional police commander Amador Corpus said.
“He was rushed to the nearest hospital but was proclaimed dead on arrival,” Corpus said.
Police are investigating to determine if Bote’s killing could be linked to a business rivalry as his family runs a large construction business. Before taking office as mayor, he had served as deputy mayor to his cousin, Virgilio Bote.
A day earlier, Antonio Halili, a mayor known for parading suspected criminals, including drug addicts, was shot and killed by a sniper while leading a flag raising ceremony in Tanuan, a city in Batangas province, south of Manila.
But last year, Halili was stripped of his powers to supervise the city’s police force because of alleged his drug links. Hours after his death, President Rodrigo Duterte said he suspected the killing could have been tied to drugs.
“He pretends that the illegal drug problem is getting worse, he pretends to parade the drug addicts,” Duterte said.
“I don’t know who killed him,” Duterte said, but stressed that he had told Halili not to get involved with drugs.
Halili’s daughter, Angeline, told reporters that Duterte did not know the truth about her father.
“I cannot blame our president for saying that if he was being given information and information meant to hurt and malign people who are doing good,” she said on ABS-CBN television.
“If our president would visit us, be with us every day, spend every day with us, he would know the truth,” she added.
Jeoffrey Maitem in Cotabato City contributed to this report.