Unidentified gunmen shot dead a vice mayor and injured two men who were with him at a canteen in Manila on Wednesday, police said, in the latest killing of a politician in the Philippines.
Charlie Yuson III, the vice mayor of Batuan town in central Masbate province, was gunned down while eating breakfast in the Sampaloc district of the Philippine capital, authorities said.
Yuson and his two companions who also suffered bullet wounds, Wilfredo Pineda and Alberto Alforte, were rushed to a local hospital.
“The victims were immediately brought to the UST Hospital for treatment, but vice mayor Yuson was declared DOA [dead on arrival] by the attending physician,” a police statement said.
Four suspects were arrested hours later, but investigators were still trying to establish a motive for the attack, police said.
Yuson was visiting his brother in Manila, according to Capt. Henry Navarro, the city’s chief homicide investigator.
Yuson was the 20th local executive killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in mid-2016. Several mayors whom the president has publicly linked to the illegal drug trade have been gunned down in his administration’s controversial war on narcotics. Yuson was not one of those officials.
In a startling revelation last month, Duterte said in a public speech that he had ordered a failed ambush on a politician, whom he had accused of ties to drug trafficking.
Duterte has won public approval at home for his tough stance on crime. When he ran for president three years ago, he promised to end the scourge of drugs.
Yet his administration’s drug war, whose death toll has reached nearly 7,000, according to police figures, has been criticized by human rights groups. They estimate that thousands of more extrajudicial killings of suspected drug addicts and pushers have taken place in the Philippines under Duterte.