Mayors and Vice Mayors killed during Duterte administration

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2021 03:35 PM | Updated as of Mar 11 2021 08:08 AM

Mayors and Vice Mayors killed during Duterte administration 1
Police cordon off the site of an ambush on the mayor and vice mayor of Balaoan, La Union on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. ABS-CBN News

MANILA (7th UPDATE) - The mayor of Calbayog City in Samar was killed on Monday in an incident surrounded by conflicting reports on whether it was an ambush or a shootout.

Mayor Ronaldo Aquino is the latest local official slain under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. His death has brought to 25 the tally of local executives killed in this administration.

Reports from police said Aquino was in the vehicle when the incident happened at the Laboyao Bridge in Barangay Lonoy, Calbayog City around 5:30 p.m.

Monday's supposed encounter left 5 dead, of which 2 were from the side of the PNP. A civilian employee from Aquino's camp, and one personnel from the national police were wounded, according to authorities. 

The local chief executive's death happened over a week after Vice-Mayor Restituto Calonge of Mabuhay town, Zamboanga Sibugay was killed, and some 3 months since another mayor, Caesar Perez of Los Baños, Laguna, was fatally shot at the municipal hall. 

Here is a list of local officials who have been killed since Duterte took power in 2016, some of whom were tagged in the illegal drug trade:

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Pamplona, Cagayan Vice Mayor Aaron Sampaga was gunned down by unidentified gunmen in his province on August 5, 2016. File photo

1. Vice Mayor Aaron Sampaga of Pamplona town, Cagayan 

Sampaga was shot by unidentified gunmen in his province on Aug. 5, 2016. He was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

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Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom was shot dead following a shoot-out with policemen at a checkpoint in Makilala town, North Cotabato on October 28, 2016. File photo

2. Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, Maguindanao 

Dimaukom was gunned down along with 9 of his men following a shootout with policemen on Oct. 28, 2016.

The mayor's convoy was flagged down at a police checkpoint in Barangay Bulatukan based on information that the group would transport illegal drugs to the Maguindanao and Cotabato area.

The mayor's convoy allegedly did not stop and the men fired at operatives.

The mayor and his wife were on Duterte's list of incumbent and retired government officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. The couple had denied the allegations.

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Mugshot photo of Albuera town Mayor Rolando Espinosa. File Photo. Ranulfo Docdocan‎, ABS-CBN News

3. Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera town, Leyte

Espinosa was shot dead inside his cell at the Baybay City Provincial Jail on Nov. 5, 2016.

He was arrested the previous month for illegal drug possession and was among the politicians Duterte linked to the illegal drug trade.

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4. Vice Mayor Anwar Sindatuk of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan town, Maguindanao

Sindatuk was shot dead by unidentified gunmen inside his house in Barangay Madia on Nov. 27, 2016.

Police said they are looking into "rido" or family feud as the motive behind the killing.

The vice mayor was also tagged by Duterte as a narco-politician.

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The vehicle of Mohammad Limbona after he was ambushed on Dec. 30, 2016. ABS-CBN News

5. Mayor Mohammad Limbona of Pantar town, Lanao del Norte 

Limbona was killed after unidentified gunmen attacked his vehicle in Iligan City on Dec. 30, 2016.

Limbona's killing may have been politically motivated as the mayoral seat was hotly contested in the May 2016 elections, police said.

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Marcos, Ilocos Norte Mayor Arsenio Agustin was on his way to his vehicle when he sustained a gunshot wound to his head on June 3, 2017. ABS-CBN News

6. Mayor Arsenio Agustin of Marcos town, Ilocos Norte

Agustin was at a construction site in Barangay Mabut, Marcos town when he was shot by an unidentified assailant on June 3, 2017.

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Balete Mayor Joven Hidalgo was gunned down while watching a basketball game in June 2017. Paulo Ferrer, ABS-CBN News

7. Mayor Joven Hidalgo of Balete town, Batangas

Hidalgo was gunned down while watching a basketball game at a court beside a police station in Barangay Poblacion, Balete on June 10, 2017.

He was rushed to the Metro Lipa Hospital but was declared dead on arrival. 

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The bloodied body of Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog lies in a stretcher.

8. Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental

Parojinog and 15 others, including his wife, brother and nephew, were killed in a series of raids in San Roque Lawis, Ozamiz City on July 30, 2017.

Police said they met violent resistance when they served 6 search warrants for firearms in the properties of Parojinog and his family.

Parojinog was among local officials on Duterte's narco-list. The mayor denied involvement in the illegal drug trade.

His daughter Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog, who was arrested in the operation, was reportedly in a relationship with high-profile Bilibid inmate Herbert Colanggo.

Nova Parojinog remains detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, while her brother is detained at the Quezon City Jail.

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9. Vice Mayor Jackson Dy of Roxas town, Oriental Mindoro

Dy was shot dead while having his car washed on Sept. 23, 2017.

Police identified the gunman, Benjamin Buruanga, who was released from jail on a charge of murder 10 days prior the vice mayor's shooting.

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Ronda, Cebu Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab. File photo

10. Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab of Ronda town, Cebu

Ungab was driving when 2 individuals approached his vehicle and shot him along Osmeña Street in Cebu City on Feb. 19, 2018.

Ungab, who was legal counsel of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, had just come from a court promulgation relating to the case against his client when he was shot dead.

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Buenavista, Bohol Mayor Ronald Tirol was shot dead near the town's cockpit arena in May 2018. ABS-CBN News

11. Mayor Ronald Tirol of Buenavista town, Bohol 

Tirol was shot dead by three men aboard two motorcycles near the town's cockpit arena on May 27, 2018.

The mayor sustained two gunshot wounds to his head. He was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his wounds.

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Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili was shot dead during a flag ceremony on Monday.

12. Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan City, Batangas

Halili, who was known for ordering suspected criminals to take "walks of shame," was shot dead during a flag ceremony in his city on July 2, 2018.

Hours after his death, Duterte slammed the slain mayor, saying the latter pretended to be an anti-illegal drug crusader to cover up his supposed drug activities. 

Halili's daughter, meanwhile, said Duterte was given false information about her father. 

In 2017, the mayor lost supervision over the police, along with other officials accused of involvement in the narcotics trade.

In May 2016, then incoming President Duterte promised to support the mayor's initiatives to curb the illegal drug trade in Tanauan.

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Bullet holes are seen on the vehicle of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote after he was gunned down in Cabanatuan City, July 3, 2018.

13. Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio town, Nueva Ecija

Bote was shot dead on July 3, 2018, a day after Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili was gunned down in Batangas.

The mayor was about to leave the National Irrigation Administration office in Cabanatuan City when an unidentified assailant approached his vehicle and shot him through the passenger's side. 

Then Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Bote was a supporter of the President and had no drug links. 

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From Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan's Facebook page

14. Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan of Trece Martires town, Cavite

Lubigan was killed aboard his vehicle outside the Korean-Philippines Hospital in Cavite on July 7, 2018.

Unidentified gunmen aboard an SUV hit the vice mayor's vehicle and opened fire.

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Bullet holes are seen on the vehicle of Vice Mayor Al-Rashid Mohammad Ali of Sapa-Sapa town, Tawi-Tawi after he was shot dead in Zamboanga City.

15. Vice Mayor Al-Rashid Mohammad Ali of Sapa-Sapa town, Tawi-Tawi

Ali was on board his vehicle when he was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Zamboanga City on July 11, 2018.

At the time of his death, Ali was the seventh victim of a shooting incident in Zamboanga City.

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Ronda, Cebu Mayor Mariano Blanco III. Courtesy of Cebu Provincial Government

16. Mayor Mariano Blanco III of Ronda town, Cebu

Blanco was inside his office in Ronda when he was shot by armed men on Sept. 5, 2018.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at 2:25 a.m. after being rushed to a hospital in nearby Barili town.

Blanco was among the 3 local chief executives who were not invited to a meeting with the President in Cebu in May that year.

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17. Mayor Alexander Buquing of Sudipen town, La Union

Buquing and his wife, Vice Mayor Wendy Buquing, were on their way home when the assailants waylaid their vehicle in Barangay Cadapli in the town of Bangar on Oct. 1, 2018.

The mayor died after he sustained multiple gunshot wounds in different parts of his body while his wife was left wounded.

The mayor's driver, Bonifacio Depdepen, and his bodyguard, Rolando Juan Be, were also killed.

18. Vice Mayor Alfred Concepcion of Balaoan town, La Union

Concepcion and his daughter Mayor Aleli Concepcion were on their way to the town hall on Nov. 14, 2018 when suspects opened fire on their vehicle, killing the former.

The elder Concepcion died from multiple gunshot wounds while the town mayor was wounded in the attack, police said.

19. Vice Mayor Sergio Popoy Francisco Emprese of San Andres town, Quezon

Emprese was ambushed inside his home in San Andres town, Quezon on August 21.

He was rushed to the hospital but died while being treated.

20. Vice Mayor Charlie Yuson III of Batuan town, Masbate 

Yuson and his two companions were having breakfast in Sampaloc, Manila when men aboard a silver gray van approached them on October 9, 2019 and opened fire.

Yuson was killed while his companions were wounded.

21. Mayor David Navarro of Clarin town, Misamis Occidental 

Navarro was shot by unknown gunmen on Oct. 25, 2019 while he was on a police vehicle en route to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.

He was previously tagged in the President's "narco-list." 

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22. Mayor Caesar Perez of Los Baños town, Laguna

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Mayor Caesar Perez of Los Baños, Laguna. Photo from Municipal Government of Los Baños Facebook page/file

Perez was shot by unidentified assailants inside the municipal hall compound on Dec. 3, 2020, after getting back from a spa in Brgy. Baybayin. 

Last year, he was included in the Duterte administration's list of politicians with alleged links to illegal drugs. The mayor had denied this.

23. Mayor Christopher Cuan of Libungan town, Cotabato 

Cuan and his driver were shot dead on the morning of Jan. 11, 2021 at a cockpit arena in the municipality, police said.

The mayor and his driver Edwin Ihao, were tailed by 4 gunmen onboard a blue SUV and shot them "several times using unidentified long firearms," according to initial investigation.

Cuan was also supposedly included in Duterte's illegal drug watchlist.

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Mabuhay town Vice Mayor Restituto Calonge was talking to his 2 other companions when an armed assailant fired upon them. February 26, 2021. Photo courtesy of PRO-9

24. Vice Mayor Restituto Calonge of Mabuhay town, Zamboanga Sibugay 

Calonge was shot dead while two others were wounded in an attack last February 26.

The gunman fired multiple shots using a .45 caliber pistol, killing Calonge on the spot, and fled on a motorcycle, police said.

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Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino. ABS-CBN News/file

25. Mayor Ronaldo Aquino of Calbayog City, Samar

Aquino, his security detail and driver were killed in a supposed shootout with police in Barangay Lonoy, Calbayog City on March 8.

Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento refuted police claim of a gunfight, saying the mayor was ambushed as the police was already waiting for Aquino's vehicle at Laboyao Bridge before the shooting incident.

Two policemen who supposedly exchanged gunfire with the camp of Aquino also died, according to the Philippine National Police.

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