Mayor shot dead in Philippines drug crackdown
Philippine police killed a town mayor in his jail cell in a purported gunbattle, the second killing in a week of a politician linked to illegal drugs under President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown. Rolando Espinosa Sr, the mayor of the town of Albuera in the central province of Leyte, and a fellow inmate were shot dead before dawn yesterday, after they fired at officers who staged a raid in search of firearms and illegal drugs in the provincial jail in Leyte’s Baybay city, police said. Some officials and an anti-crime watchdog have called for an investigation of the circumstances of the killings, wondering how the mayor and the other inmate got hold of guns. “Offhand, I can smell extrajudicial killing,” said Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former national police chief, adding that the suspicious deaths were the “biggest challenge” to the credibility of the national police force, which is undertaking the anti-drug crackdown. Last week, police allegedly killed another town mayor, Samsudin Dimaukom, and nine of his men in a gunbattle in the southern Philippines. Espinosa and Dimaukom were among more than 160 officials named publicly by Duterte in August as part of a shame campaign. Espinosa’s son, an alleged drug lord, was arrested in Abu Dhabi last month.
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