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Philippines mayor killed in police custody

Global News Briefs 30 Oct, 2019 Follow News

Philippines mayor killed in police custody

A Philippine mayor tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as a "narco-politician" was ambushed while in police custody and killed police said, the latest official on the leader's blacklist to be targeted by unknown gunmen.

Gunmen stopped a police van last Friday that was taking David Navarro, the mayor of the small southern town of Clarin, to the state prosecutor's office in the central city of Cebu and shot him dead.

City police had arrested Navarro, who was visiting on official business, late Thursday after he allegedly assaulted a masseur, a Cebu police officer said. Following the attack, in which one of Navarro's police escorts was also injured, the gunmen escaped, police said.

Local television footage showed two women named by the station as the politician's siblings crying and hugging a bloodied body sprawled on the road beside a police van.

The Philippines has a violent and often deadly political culture, but rights monitors have expressed concern that Duterte's signature drug war - which has led to the killings of thousands of narcotics suspects by police - may be emboldening assailants.

On Mar 14, ahead of May elections, Navarro's name had turned up in a list of 44 mostly local officials put out by Duterte, who accused them of being "involved in the deadly game of drug trafficking".

Duterte had also released a longer list in 2016 of more than 150 judges, mayors and other local officials allegedly linked to drugs.

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