CEBU CITY, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – Mayor David Navarro of Clarin town in Misamis Occidental was shot dead in this city on Friday, October 25.
Navarro was killed along M. Velez Street, right outside the Office of the Ombudsman here, while in police custody. He was being transported to the city prosecutor’s office for inquest proceedings on an assault complaint, when the ambush happened.
Police said Navarro was riding in the back of the police vehicle when masked men men in another van stopped the police convoy.
Witnesses said the suspects carried long firearms and told the mayor to get out of the vehicle, then shot him dead.
Police Master Sergeant Carlo Balasoto, one of the mayor’s escorts, told reporters there were at least 10 gunmen who alighted the van to pull the mayor out.
“Paspas kaayo ang situation (the situation happened quickly),” Balasoto said. “When we arrived there, the gunmen were already in place.”
Police investigators declined to be interviewed by reporters when asked for updates to their findings when they were packing up the scene
Princess Navarro, the sister who was sitting next to the mayor, told reporters she tried to shield her brother from the gunmen, but they grabbed him and shot him outside.
His sister told reporters in Cebuano that she wanted justice.
“If I ask for justice, will we get it? We live in a small and remote municipality. We came to Cebu, which is supposed to be part of the Philippines, but it feels like we’re not even in the Philippines,” Princess said while crying in her bloody t-shirt.
“I just want to go home,” she added.
The suspects shot at both the police vehicle and the van behind it after shooting the mayor in the head.
At least two police officers and 3 civilians – one of them a Clarin official – in the convoy were also hit by gunfire, but the injuries they sustained were non-life threatening.
Among the injured who were identified are the following:
- Police Corporal Eutemio Catalan, escort
- Police Chief Master Sergeant Roberto Sanoy, Clarin police
- John Baylon, Clarin municipal administrator
The incident took place a day after Navarro was arrested for beating up a massage therapist in the city.
Navarro, who had been detained since Thursday night, had requested to be placed under hospital arrest after complaining of severe headache and tested his blood pressure at 140/100. Central Visayas police chief Brigadier General Valeriano de Leon denied the request, saying that no one should be given special treatment.
The Police Regional Office in the Central Visayas has convened a special investigation task group (SITG) to investigate the killing of Navarro.
“The Police Regional Office 7 is not discounting the possibility that the perpetrators of Mayor Navarro’s killing could be his former and present associates in the underworld, while, of course, not discounting the possibility of politics,” De Leon said in the press statement.
Navarro is among the alleged narco-politicians in the March 2019 list that President Rodrigo Duterte himself released to the public. He released the names ahead of the May elections apparently to dissuade voters from reelecting those on the list, but Clarin and others on the list still won in their areas. – Rappler.com