Slain Tanauan mayor Antonio Halili buried

Eloisa Lopez
Slain Tanauan mayor Antonio Halili buried
(UPDATED) Relatives, friends, and hundreds of supporters march in a funeral procession for the late mayor, who was shot dead on July 2

BATANGAS, Philippines (UPDATED) – Slain Tanauan City mayor Antonio Halili was buried late Sunday afternoon, July 8, at the Loyola Gardens of Tanauan in Batangas.

The 72-year-old Halili was shot to death last July 2, during the singing of the national anthem in a flag ceremony at the city hall. (READ: Mayor Halili spoke of ‘imminent threat’ to life)

On Sunday, Halili’s relatives, friends, and supporters marched from the mayor’s residence to St John the Evangelist Parish Church in Tanauan City, where hundreds gathered for the funeral Mass.

In his homily, Father Toti Mandanas spoke about the constant discussions on Halili’s killing, and how many of these fail to include the offering of prayers for the slain mayor.

“Maraming pinaguusapan – kung paano siya binaril, ang pulitika, ang pag-iimbestiga at pagsisiyasat,” Mandanas said. “[Ngunit] ‘di nila nakikita ang sinasabi ng Diyos sa nangyayaring ito. Manalangin tayo para sa mayor. Ang panawagan ng Hesu Kristo ay magmahalan tayo.”

(Many things have been talked about – how he was shot, politics, the investigation. But people fail to see what the Word of God says about matters like this. We should pray for the mayor. Jesus Christ’s appeal is for us to love one another.)

After the Mass, there was a procession to the city hall, where a necrological service was later held. With the Philippine flag raised in front, police providing security, and a marching band playing, Halili’s family walked along with his supporters.

Motorists honked their horns as the mayor’s hearse passed by. More supporters – market vendors, tricycle drivers, other residents – also held up banners calling for justice. (READ: Malacañang vows punishment for Tanauan mayor Halili killers)

The crowd was clad in yellow t-shirts with black ribbons and an image of Halili printed on them. A supporter of Halili said yellow was the mayor’s favorite color.

At the city hall, the mayor’s relatives, colleagues, and friends paid tribute to him in a 3-hour necrological service. Supporters were also given time to pay their last respects to the mayor before the burial.

At the cemetery, Halili’s wife Gina and his children Angeline and Mark Anthony spoke a few words of farewell.

“Hinding-hindi ka namin kalilimutan. Lagi ka naming mamahalin. Ipagpapatuloy namin ang ‘yong mga pangarap…. Kaming pamilya mo ay mamumuhay ng maayos at masaya dahil ikaw ang naging tatay namin,” said Mark Anthony.

(We will never forget you. We will always love you. We will pursue your dreams…. Your family will live peacefully and happily because you were our father.)

He added that the Halili family will continue to serve Tanauan City, and thanked the people for their support.

“Hindi po kami nagsisisi. Sa nakikita po namin, minahal ninyo (Tanaueños) ng totoo [ang aming tatay], at naniniwala kayo sa tatay namin,” he said.

(We have no regrets. We see that Tanaueños truly loved our father, and you believed in him.)

Halili’s daughter Angeline, meanwhile, promised her father that she will seek justice.

“It’s a shame that you’re gone and you’ve been criticized by these people who [are] not even worthy of us,” she said. “I will do my best to give you justice because I know that’s the only time you will be at peace.”

Gina thanked the townspeople for braving the rain and the heat throughout the day – from the early morning procession, until the late afternoon burial.

“Sana tulungan ‘nyo kami. Justice ang kailangan namin para sa asawa ko,” she said. (I hope you’ll help us. We need to attain justice for my husband.)

Halili gained notoriety for implementing a “walk of shame” for drug suspects back in 2016, when he paraded drug personalities for everyone to see. The practice was slammed by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) because parading suspects is unconstitutional.

He was stripped of powers to supervise local police in November 2017 after being linked by the government to illegal drugs. (READ: PDEA: Drug-linked governors, congressmen, mayors to be named next)

Halili was on his second term as Tanauan City mayor when he was killed by a still-unidentified sniper. (READ: Police reenactment: Halili gunman shot him from bushes)

Calabarzon police director Chief Superintendent Edward Carranza earlier said they were already looking into 3 “persons of interest” in the Halili case. But he clarified that they have yet to establish strong evidence against any of the 3. (READ: Mayor Halili had unresolved dispute with ‘former general’ – Albayalde–

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this report said Mayor Antonio Halili had been buried as of 4 pm. We have corrected and updated the story to say he was buried later in the afternoon, Sunday.

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