Cavite town vice mayor killed in ambush

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 07 2018 04:08 PM | Updated as of Jul 08 2018 12:40 AM

Cavite town vice mayor killed in ambush 1
From Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan's Facebook page

MANILA (5th UPDATE) - The vice mayor of Trece Martires town in Cavite was gunned down Saturday afternoon, the third slay of a local official this week. 

Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan and his driver were killed outside the Korean-Philippines Hospital in his town past 3:00 p.m., police said.

The gunman, aboard an SUV, hit Lubigan's pickup truck along the Trece Martires–Indang Road and shot the vice mayor, according to Senior Supt. William Segun, Cavite provincial director.

Lubigan died on the spot, he said.

The vice mayor's bodyguard Romeo Edrinal was wounded in the incident, police said.

Chief Supt. Edward Carranza, regional director of CALABARZON Police, said he has directed his men to form a special intelligence task group to investigate the official's killing.

"We have to look on the angles on the occupation of the vice mayor since election is fast approaching and considering the history of Trece Martires, most of the angle there is political feud in Trece Martires," Carranza told ANC.

Philippine National Police chief Director Oscar Albayalde said Lubigan is not included in their list of politicians involved in the illegal drug trade.

Albayalde, who is currently in Legazpi City, Albay, said he is closely monitoring the incident.

Malacañang, while condemning Lubigan's ambush, asked that the police "conduct a fair and thorough investigation and spare no effort in getting to the bottom of this latest crime."

"We must band together and put an end to the worrisome incidents of violence involving local politicians," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

The Commission on Human Rights, meanwhile, also urged the government to conduct a "truthful investigation."

"Lubhang nakakabahala 'yong mga balitang nakakalap natin ngayon sa pagpaslang sa mga opisyal ng pamahalaan lalo na ang lokal na opisyal," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia told DZMM radio.

(We are severely alarmed about news reports we receive regarding the killing of government officials, especially local officials.)

"At sabi nga natin, kinakailangan na ipakita ng pamahalaan na mayroong truthful investigation na isinasagawa ang ating kapulisan at siguraduhin na may pananagutan ang mga nasa likod ng insidenteng ito."

(As we have said, the government must show that there is truthful investigation being conducted by the police and that those behind the killings will be held responsible.)

Senator Francis Pangilinan said the country must be made "safe, secure and peaceful" and "not a gangster land."

"What is going on? Are these deliberate and orchestrated attempts at creating an atmosphere of lawlessness to justify strongman rule?" he said.

"A swift, sure, and lawful move by the PNP to bring the killers behind bars is what the public awaits. At the same time, the police must ensure visibility, especially in key critical areas to prevent another bloody incident.

Lubigan's death followed the slay of mayors in Batangas and Nueva Ecija earlier this week.

Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili of Batangas was shot dead on Monday during a flag ceremony. The gunman was supposedly perched on a grassy area near the crime scene.

Halili, who gained notoriety after making drug suspects take a "walk of shame" around the town, was also included in the government's watchlist of local leaders with supposed links to the narcotics trade.

On Tuesday, General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote of Nueva Ecija was shot at close range by unidentified gunmen.

Halili and Bote were the 9th and 10th mayors to be killed since October 2016.

--With a report from Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News