Published: Mon, July 02, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Philippine Mayor Antonio Halili assassinated during ceremony

Philippine Mayor Antonio Halili assassinated during ceremony

In the video, those attending the ceremony are singing the national anthem when a gunshot is heard, prompting bystanders to flee the area in panic.

The incident was captured on Facebook live by Tanauan City public information officer Gerry Laresma.

Police say they have killed more than 4,200 suspected drug dealers during shootouts in a bloody war on drugs launched by President Rodrigo Duterte two years ago, a campaign condemned by domestic and global human rights groups.

However, even before Duterte came to power Halili had made a name for himself with the controversial perp walks.

Two alleged drug dealers stand next to drug paraphernalia confiscated during a police operation conducted in Manila, Philippines, on March 15, 2018. The victim is not seen on camera after the shot is fired. One investigator told a radio station that a high-powered rifle was used in the attack.

The gunman escaped, police officials and witnesses said. A man yells, 'The mayor is dead, the mayor was shot, ' and another desperately calls for a auto to take Halili to the hospital. He described Halili as "the one who pretended to parade the addicts".

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Those paraded had confessed to drug offenses but had not been formally charged, he told CNN in an interview in 2016. The policy began in 2014 and was introduced alongside his 70-person "anti-crime group", which patrolled local streets dressed all in black and armed with their own weapons. Human Rights Watch believes at least 12,000 people have been killed in the crackdown since Duterte took office in 2016.

Duterte has openly encouraged vigilantism and flimsy accusations of criminality have become convenient excuses for score-settling and murder.

In a rare concession to human rights, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in June said it would end its practice of parading drug suspects on "perp-walks" before the media.

A special investigation has been opened and the assailant's motive was not immediately known. Roque vowed that justice would be served.

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