Los Baños mayor killed due to politics?

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    PROBERS are looking into politics as the possible motive behind the killing of Mayor Los Baños Mayor Caesar Perez of Los Baños, Laguna inside the town hall last Thursday night.

    “That is one of the angles we are looking into – politics,” CALABARZON Regional Police director Brig. Gen. Felipe Natividad told a press briefing at Camp Crame yesterday.

    “That is one of the angles, possible motive,” Natividad added without elaborating.

    Natividad said Perez was shot by unidentified suspects from a distance of 26 meters, giving rise to the possibility that the assailants are well-trained members of a gun-for-hire syndicate.

    Perez has been included in President Duterte’s list of narco politicians made public last year ahead of the May 2019 mid-term polls.

    On Monday, Duterte apologized to the family of Perez who was shot twice in the head and distanced himself from the list.

    “That list is not mine. It is a collation. All that came from intelligence reports of drug enforcement, police and military,” Duterte said. The Human Rights watch denounced Duterte’s action as “cowardly.”

    “I’m sorry if your father was there. But really, most of those (on the list) are into drugs. Your father might be an exception,” Duterte said.

    Perez is not the first mayor on the list who had been killed by unidentified gunmen. In October last year, a town mayor in Mindanao being escorted by police to a prosecutor’s office in Cebu City was also ambushed.

    Phil Roberston, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said Duterte cannot deny involvement in the violence perpetrated against those on his lists, which “he has used as a public, political prop for years to shore up his popularity.”

    “For him to disavow how these lists were used by law enforcers to violate the civil liberties and human rights of those listed is not only disingenuous – it is cowardly,” Robertson said in a statement.

    “Our investigation is continuing. We are talking to people, it’s continuing. We already talked to the members of his family. We are investigating some people, part of the investigation. It’s part of the case investigation we are doing,” Natividad said

    Natividad said they have located three witnesses but said they could not provide clear description of the suspects because it was dark when the shooting took place.

    He said they are also reviewing footage from CCTVs in the area. – With Jocelyn Montemayor and Reuters