MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The slain mayor of Clarin town, Misamis Occidental received threats from organized crime groups prior to his killing, Cebu City Police said Saturday.
Clarin Mayor David Navarro, previously tagged in President Rodrigo Duterte's "narco-list" or those with alleged drug links, was shot dead Friday while he was on a police vehicle en route to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.
Navarro was set to undergo inquest proceedings for charges of slight physical injuries and acts of lasciviousness, a day after he was arrested for allegedly mauling a massage therapist and soliciting sexual favors.
Four were wounded in the incident: 2 of Navarro's security, a Misamis Occidental policeman, and a Cebu City policeman, according to Cebu City Police chief Police Col. Gemma Vinluan.
"May mga minention, even the consultant ni mayor na kasama doon sa van, na mga previous threats na tinatanggap ni mayor," Vinluan told reporters.
(Previous threats received by the mayor were mentioned, even by the mayor's consultant who was in the van.)
Asked if the slay was linked to the mauling, Vinluan said: "Hindi, definitely, dahil mayroon siyang acts of lasciviousness and physical injury case. Palagay ko hindi 'yun ang reason para patayin si mayor."
(No, definitely not because of his criminal cases. I don't think it's the reason why the mayor was killed.)
The Cebu City government and police were unaware of the mayor's visit, Vinluan added.
"'Di namin alam na mayroon siyang activity, according to them mga economic leaders ng Misamis na nagkaroon ng meeting sa Raja (Hotel)," Vinluan said.
(We did not know he had an activity here at Raja Hotel, according to them it was a meeting of economic leaders in Misamis.)
"Hindi nakipag-coordinate si mayor dito sa Cebu City, neither sa nearest police station. Kung nakipag-coordinate sana siya, nabigyan sana natin siya ng appropriate security for their activity."
(The mayor did not coordinate with Cebu City, neither with the nearest police station. If he coordinated with us, we could have given him appropriate security for their activity.)
Vinluan said police has asked for copies of CCTV footage from the hotel where the mayor stayed when he arrived in the city last Tuesday.
The Cebu City Police has formed a special investigation task force but the mayor's relatives have expressed disinterest in filing a complaint, Vinluan said.
Police said they would investigate all angles, including politics, business, and Navarro's alleged link to the drug trade, she added. Navarro ranked 8th in Misamis Occidental's drug watchlist, according to the police chief.
"Hindi natin sila mapipilit, pero (We cannot force them but) I am requiring them to put that non-interest to file a case into an affidavit," she said.
CHR to investigate case as drug-related slay
In a statement, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it would investigate the killing as a drug-related incident as it denounced the mayor's slay and urged authorities to conduct an "immediate and thorough" investigation.
CHR's office in Northern Mindanao has begun its own probe, the independent body said.
"The Commission does not condone the assault charges filed against Mayor Navarro from allegedly beating a massage therapist in Cebu City but this incident does not in any way justify his death," it said in a statement.
"Such arbitrary deprivation of life without due process of the law must never be tolerated."
-- With reports from Leleth Rumaguera, ABS-CBN News