By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) maintained there is no pattern in the killing of mayors assuring the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) that the Philippine National Police (PNP) is ready to provide additional security should they need it.
“We see no pattern in the killing of mayors. Each case has on its own facts. They are not at all related. In fact, only a small portion are definitely drug related,” said DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Eduardo M. Año.
Año clarified that there is no evidence that these cases are connected to illegal drugs as people continued to speculate on what was the motive behind the slaying.
“Hindi lahat ng mga kaso ng pagpatay ay may kinalaman sa droga. The rest are personal, political, and other reasons (There is no truth that the killings are due to the illegal drug trade. The rest are personal, political and other reasons),’’ Año said.
The DILG chief aired the statement after the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) expressed alarming concern about their safety because of the killing of two Luzon mayors in successive days this week.
Año assured the mayors that there is no cause for concern and that the police are ready to provide additional security to them.
He added that the local chief executives (LCEs) just need to file a request for additional security with the PNP which shall validate if there is indeed an existing threat on the mayors and if such threats are serious.
“The PNP decides on these requests on a case-to-case basis,” he added.
The LMP has sought a dialogue with President Duterte over the back-to-back killings of mayors in recent days, including those who were linked to the illegal drug trade.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio in Nueva Ecija was gunned down by motorcycle-riding assassins as the mayor came out from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) office in Cabanatuan City.
Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan City was shot dead by an unidentified gunman while attending the flag raising ceremony last Monday in front of city hall employees.
The DILG chief assured the mayors the “police is now on top of both cases and is doing its best to solve them and find the assassins’’.