Mayors seek dialogue with Duterte after Halili, Bote killings

Rambo Talabong
'Kung sakali naman po may maling nagawa ang mayor, hindi naman po tama na patayin sila,' says League of Municipalities of the Philippines president Marife Brondial

TALKS SOUGHT. President Rodrigo Duterte at the 25th Annual National Convention of the Vice Mayors'€™ League of the Philippines. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Following the back-to-back killings of their colleagues, Philippine mayors are seeking a “dialogue” with President Rodrigo Duterte.

This was announced by the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) president Marife Brondial, the mayor of Socorro town in Oriental Mindoro, in a radio interview on Wednesday, July 4.

“Kagagawa lang po (ng request). Kahapon kasi ‘yung sa nangyaring ito (The request has just been made. It’s because of what happened yesterday),” Brondial said, referring to the killing of General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote, which came a day after Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili was shot dead by a sniper.

According to Brondial, mayors are already “nervous” because of the recent killings. The most frightened, she said, are those who were linked by the Duterte administration to illegal drugs.

“Nakakaawa din ang mga mayors na gano’n, kaya sabi ko nga, kung sakali naman po may maling nagawa ang mayor, hindi naman po tama na patayin sila. Meron tayong korte, may Ombudsman, DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) na puwede natin isampa ang reklamo sa mga maling mayors. Pero hindi dapat patayin, hindi ba?” Brondial said.

(It’s also pitiful that this is happening to mayors, so as I said, if ever a mayor does something wrong, it is not right to kill them. We have courts, the Ombudsman, the DILG, where we can file complaints against erring mayors. They shouldn’t be killed, right?)

The League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), representing city mayors, said they would also request for a dialogue with Duterte. The league has yet to release its full statement.

The LCP’s president, Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, was also linked by the government to illegal drugs in November 2017 and stripped of his police powers the same day as Tanauan’s Halili. (LIST: 23 mayors, governor lose police control over ‘corruption’, drug links)

By Rappler’s count, there have been at least 14 mayors and vice mayors killed under the presidency of Duterte, who was a longtime mayor of Davao City. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.