There is no connection between the recent killing of a Batangas city mayor and a Nueva Ecija town mayor, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Hindi natin masasabi na related ito kasi magkaiba naman ang kaso,” says DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano, referring to the murder of Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili and General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote on two consecutive days this week.
Ano says the Tuesday killing of Bote is different because unlike the slain Tanauan City mayor, Bote is not included in the so-called narco list.
“Base sa initial information, maayos itong si Mayor Bote at hindi siya kasama sa narco list,” he says.
The DILG Chief says Bote only became mayor in 2016 and may be one of the local politicians in the running to become the next governor of Nueva Ecija. “So marami tayong anggulong tinitingnan dito kasama na ang politika at sa personal din.”
"Let's not speculate on these cases and just await the results of the investigation. Basta kami, we will go where the evidence will bring us," he adds.
On Tuesday afternoon, Bote was gunned down by two or three gunmen on board a motorcycle after coming from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) office in Cabanatuan City. Meanwhile, Halili was shot dead by an unidentified gunman while attending the flag raising ceremony last Monday in front of city hall employees.
According to Ano, President Rodrigo Duterte specifically told him to pay preferential attention to the cases.
“Upon the instruction of the President, I am in close coordination with Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde regarding these cases. We need to put a stop to all these senseless killings that are undermining the government’s peace and order efforts,” he says.
He says the PNP is now conducting a thorough investigation on both cases and undertaking additional security measures in the localities.