BATANGAS, Philippines – Angeline Halili, daughter of slain Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili, called on President Rodrigo Duterte to help their family attain justice for the untimely death of her father.
In an interview with reporters at the wake of Mayor Halili on Saturday, July 7, Angeline also appealed to Duterte to clear her father, who the President had accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade.
“Give us justice. I appeal to the President na linisin ang pangalan ng tatay ko at bigyan ng hustisya ang pagkamatay niya (I appeal to the President to clear my father’s name and give him justice),” she said.
Inaasahan ka namin, Presidente. Ikaw ang hinihintay kong makarating dito (We are counting on you, Mr President. I’m waiting for you here),” Angeline added.
Angeline said her family suspects that Halili’s assassination was sanctioned by the government, but hopes it’s not true. It was Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson who first told the media of the suspicion. (READ: ‘Duterte of Batangas’? Slain Tanauan mayor Antonio Halili and his ‘iron fist’)
“This is one of the greatest fears that we have to face. Sana naman hindi totoo. Isipin mo naman kung ang pamilya mo is against a very high and a very strong government, mataas ang posisyon e matakot ka na (I hope it’s not true. Just think, if your family is against a very high and strong government, a high position, you’d be scared),” Angeline said.
In her case, through, Angeline said she would not be intimidated.
“You’d be helpless, but not me. I will not feel helpless, all the more I will fight back,” she said. (READ: Mayors seek dialogue with Duterte after Halili, Bote killings)
Angeline said they are still waiting for the final result of the probe of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“Everyone’s a suspect. May motive eh. Kung sino ang mga may motive who’s been opposing my father, kumokontra at naninira sa father ko, they’re all suspects (There’s a motive. Whoever has motive, who’s been opposing my father, or tarnishing his name, they’re all suspects),” she said.
In an interview on radio dwIZ on Saturday, Senator Panfilo Lacson said that Halili had told him before that he had differences with a retired police general, but said it was over the latter’s supposed plan to run against him in the next mayoral elections.
When asked, Lacson said it would not be right to name the retired general, especially as politics was just one of the angles being considered by the police and no suspect had been named yet.
Lacson also said the “irony” was that Duterte was Halili’s “idol” in terms of the fight against illegal drugs, so the family’s reaction to the President’s allegation against the late mayor was understandable.
“Ako mismo di member ng pamilya pero sa pagkakilala ko sa kanya wala akong narinig involved sa illegal drugs. Ang nakakalungkot, the irony, idol niya maski buhay pa yan maski sa interview niya, maski sa ginagawa niyam ina-idolize niya ang Pangulo. At lagi niyang sinabi sa akin gusto niyang gayahin kaya niya naisip ang ‘Walk of Shame’,” he said.
(I’m not a member of the family but from how I know him, I’ve never heard of his involvement in illegal drugs. The sad part is – the irony – the President was his idol. And he always told me he wanted to emulate him so he thought of the “Walk of Shame.”)
The “Walk of Shame” involved parading drug suspects in Tanauan City.
Halili is the third high-profile victim of alleged sniper attacks in the province of Batangas. (READ: Malacañang vows punishment for Tanauan mayor Halili killers)
In June last year, Balete town Mayor Leovino Hidalgo was shot dead while watching a basketball game inside a court beside the police station. Reports revealed that there was a white van parked beside the plaza, which drove off immediately after the attack.
Three months later, in September 2017, prominent businessman Ruben “Palos” Dimacuha, uncle of Batangas City Mayor Beverley Dimacuha, was shot while standing in front of his office past 6 pm.
He sustained gunshot wounds to his chest and arms. A source revealed the killing was performed by a sniper who was onboard a white van parked across the road.
All 3 killings remain unsolved.
By Rappler’s count, there have been at least 15 mayors and vice mayors killed under the presidency of Duterte, himself a longtime mayor of Davao City before he became president.
The latest is Trece Martires, Cavite, Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan, who was shot Saturday afternoon. – Rappler.com