A Philippine mayor, Antonio Halili, who paraded suspected drug dealers through the streets of his city, was shot dead while attending a weekly flag-raising ceremony earlier today.
Halili, the Mayor of Tanauan city in Batangas province south of Manila was shot in the chest by a still unknown-gunman on Monday. He died on the way to a hospital.
A video of the assassination – posted on social media – showed Halili and civil servants outside the city hall singing the Philippine national anthem, when a sound of single gunshot rang through the crowd, followed by screaming as the ceremony was cut short.
Watch | Aktwal na video ilang segundo bago barilin si Tanauan Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili sa flag raising ceremony kaninang umaga.
📹 Gerry Yson Laresma pic.twitter.com/zm9z4v3ORH
— Jeff Caparas (@jeffcaparas) July 2, 2018
The bullet hit a mobile phone in Halili’s coat pocket then pierced his chest, police told AP.
“We are shocked, we are saddened,” Vice Mayor Jhoanna Villamor, who was standing beside Halili, told radio station DZBB after the shooting.
Philippine police chief Oscar Albayalde said people in the crowd did not see anybody approach the mayor.
“They just heard a gunshot so the assumption or allegation was it could have been a sniper shot,” Albayalde said in a news conference, adding that an investigation was under way.
Police said they were scouring a nearby elevated grassy area, where the gunman may have fired the shot.
Halili, who was alleged to have drug ties himself, became controversial two years ago when he ordered drug suspects to be paraded in public in his city, in a campaign that was dubbed “walk of shame”.
The suspects were forced to wear cardboard signs that read “I’m a pusher, don’t emulate me” in a campaign that alarmed human rights officials.
Meanwhile, Albayalde, the police chief, said investigators would try to determine if the killing was connected to Halili’s anti-drug campaign.