Slain vice mayor eyed higher post - kin, aides

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2018 09:40 AM | Updated as of Jul 12 2018 06:39 PM

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MANILA - Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan of Trece Martires, Cavite was supposed to run for mayor, several relatives and staff members said Monday, as the police eyed politics as a possible motive in his assassination.

The 44-year-old Lubigan was in a sports utility vehicle when gunmen in another SUV opened fire on Saturday. His bodyguard was also killed in the attack that occurred outside a hospital in Trece Martires.

The vice mayor, who was serving his third term, would have announced his 2019 candidacy for mayor on Monday, several relatives and aides said during his wake.

"Kami po ay humihingi ng tulong sa ating PNP, mabilis na hustisya dahil sa pinagdadaanan po naming sakit, ng buong bayan ng Trece Martires, gustong-gusto po naming makamtan ang hustisya upang hindi po mabalewala iyung nangyari sa kaniya," the vice mayor's sister, Kristine Lubigan-Lucero, told ABS-CBN News.

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(We are asking for help and swift justice from our PNP because amid the hurt that we and the whole town of Trece Martires is experiencing, we desire justice so that what happened to my brother will not be neglected.)

Calabarzon police director, Chief Supt. Edward Carranza said investigators are looking into politics as the possible motive in Lubigan's killing.

It would be premature for now, however, to conclude whether or not Lubigan was assassinated to prevent him from running for mayor, Carranza said.

Investigators have identified 3 persons of interest in the killings, Carranza said, declining to elaborate.

Lubigan sustained 4 gunshot wounds on his head, chin, arm and lung, police said, citing the initial findings of the autopsy on his remains.

A 5.56-caliber armalite was used in the attack, where 2 gunmen may have been involved, said Carranza.

Lubigan was the third city official killed last week.

Last Tuesday, General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote of Nueva Ecija was also on board his vehicle when he was shot up close by a gunman wearing a hooded jacket.

His killing came just a day after Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili of Batangas, whom President Rodrigo Duterte linked to the narcotics trade, was shot dead during a flag-raising ceremony.

With reports from April Rafales and Jervis Manahan