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‘Isolated cases,’ says Leyte mayors’ spokesperson

Killings of mayors

TACLOBAN CITY-While they are concerned on the killings involving mayors, Leyte mayors still considers the incidents as ‘isolated.’
This was disclosed by Barugo town Mayor Ma. Rosario Avestruz, spokesperson of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Leyte chapter.
Avestruz, in a phone interview Thursday (July 5), was reacting on the killings just days apart of Mayor Antonio Halili of Batangas City, Bataan, and Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.
The incidents, which are still under investigations by police authorities, raised fears among mayors of the country.
“While we are concerned on these incidents, we still consider them as isolated case(s). We don’t see them as really targeting the mayors,” Avestruz said.
The Barugo mayor, who is serving on her first term, said that their league will convene sometime next week to formally discuss the matter.
Avestruz added that all of the 41 town mayors of Leyte will continue to have their police security escorts.
“We continue to support all the programs of President Duterte,” she said.
About 10 mayors of the country have been killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte among them was the mayor of Albuera, Leyte in 2016.
Mayor Rolando Espinosa was gunned down inside his cell at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City on November 5,2016 by members of the Criminal Investigation Group (CIDG) purportedly to serve a warrant for illegal possession of firearm.
Espinosa was tagged by Mr. Duterte as among the country’s mayors who are in the illegal drug trade.
His son, Kerwin, is now detained at Camp Crame due to his alleged drug-dealing activities which he is denying.
Meantime, Marjorie Jaramilla, regional president of Mr.Duterte’s political party, PDP-Laban,downplayed the killing incidents involving some of the country’s mayors.
Jaramilla said that it is not the policy of the administration of Mr. Duterte to kill mayors or any one.
“I think it is not fair to blame the President on these killings. He has nothing in mind but for the goodness of the country and the Filipino people,” she said in a separate interview.
She also assured the mayors, at least in the region, that they have the support of the President as they implement their respective programs and projects.
She disclosed that more than 90 percent of the region’s 143 city and town mayors are now aligned with the PDP-Laban.

BY: JOEY A. GABIETA

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