Critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte say accusations of drug-trade ties are merely means of quelling dissent
Reynaldo Parojinog, mayor of the city of Ozamiz on Mindanao island, was killed with his wife and 10 others, after reportedly resisting arrest, as police stormed the farm where he and his family lived.
The mayor of Ozamis and six others were killed early Sunday in police raids at private residences, according to media reports.
The police officers were "met with volleys of fire from (the mayor's) security, prompting the Philippine National Police personnel to retaliate", Pacleb said.
The police provincial chief says cops recovered grenades, ammunition, and illegal drugs in the raid.
"When he saw me, he approached me and said, "Wala man kay labot" (you're not a part of it)", he said, in reference to the "matrix" of those involved in the drug trade in the country that included politicians and high-ranking government officials that Duterte presented to the media a few months back.
In November, the mayor of Albuera town in central Leyte, whom Duterte asked to surrender over his alleged involvement in the drug trade, was killed during a shootout inside his detention cell. Policemen were approaching the mayor's house when his bodyguards opened fire and hit a police auto and wounded an officer, sparking a firefight amid a power outage, he said.
All three mayors were among more than 160 officials Duterte named publicly as being linked to illegal drugs in August previous year as part of a shame campaign.
Among those Mr. Duterte named was Reynaldo O. Parojinog, Sr., mayor of Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental.
Espenido described the mayor as a "high-value target on illegal drugs".
Two councilors of Ozamiz City on Monday will temporarily assume the posts of mayor and vice mayor following the death and arrest of their city's officials. "We applied for search warrant", Obusan said.
Espenido figured in yet another controversy after families of slain robbery and gun-for-hire suspects killed in a supposed police operation cried foul after the bodies of the suspects were left in front of Ozamiz City Hall for about 12 hours last July 2.
Duterte has promised an unrelenting war on drugs, defying critics who were "trivializing" his campaign with human rights concerns and unjustly blaming the authorities for the bloodshed.
"The administration vowed to intensify the drug campaign", presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement. All 15 suspected drug lords at the scene of the crime and their "armed to the teeth" bodyguards are killed.
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