Hundreds pay last respects to slain Batangas mayor

Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2018 10:04 AM | Updated as of Jul 08 2018 09:27 PM

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Drone shots outside the church where a Mass for the late Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili was held. Val Cuenca, ABS-CBN News

TANAUAN, Batangas -- Hundreds of residents in this city on Sunday paid their last respects to their slain mayor, Antonio Halili.

Halili was gunned down during a flag-raising ceremony on Monday. He was the first of 3 city officials killed by unidentified gunman this past week.

Clad in yellow, white and black, a sea of Tanaueños attended the necrological Mass for Halili at the St. John the Evangelist Parish.

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Supporters walk beside a vehicle carrying Halili's remains. Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News; Jann Antonio

Halili had gained prominence for introducing a "walk of shame" parade of alleged drug dealers through Tanauan.

However, Halili was stripped of his supervisory powers over local police in October 2017 due to a proliferation of illegal drugs in his city, amid allegations by the national police that he may have been involved.

Hours after the mayor was killed, President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Halili, saying he pretended to be an anti-illegal drug crusader to cover up his supposed involvement in the narcotics trade.

Halili's daughter, Angeline, claimed Duterte had been fed false information about her father, whom she said would rather die than be a drug lord.

Investigators have identified 3 persons of interest in Halili's killing, of whom 2 are allegedly linked to the narcotics trade.

The Halili family will hold necrological rites for their patriarch at the new city hall on Sunday noon.

Their political allies are expected to attend, including Senator Panfilo Lacson, who has denounced Halili's assassination.

The mayor will be laid to rest at the Loyola Memorial Gardens, located beside the Tanauan city hall, at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Two other city officials have been killed by unidentified gunmen this week following Halili's murder. Among them were Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija and Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan of Trece Martires, Cavite.