Los Baños mayor dies after shooting inside municipal hall

Los Baños, Laguna Mayor Caesar Perez was shot dead inside the municipal hall on Thursday night, December 3.

Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez confirmed the news past 11 pm Thursday.

"Taos-pusong nakikiramay ang inyong lingkod, sampu ng aking pamilya, sa mga naiwang kapamilya at kababayan sa Los Baños ni Mayor Caesar P. Perez," Hernandez said in a Facebook post.

(In behalf of my family, I express my deepest condolences to the family and the constituents in Los Baños of Mayor Caesar P. Perez.)

Hernandez condemned the killing and said he has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.

Based on an initial police report, at about 8:45 pm Thursday, Perez was walking to the receiving area of the municipal hall when unidentified suspects shot him twice to the head.

Perez was rushed to the HealthServ Los Baños Medical Center. Doctors tried to revive him, but the mayor was declared dead at around 9:25 pm.

Perez, who previously served as vice governor of Laguna, is one of the mayors accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of being involved in the illegal drug trade. 

In December 2017, Perez was stripped of his powers over local police because of his alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

In a March 2019 interview with ABS-CBN News, Perez denied his alleged links to the illegal drug trade, and said it is a "politically motivated" accusation. He said a political rival from 2007 was likely behind his inclusion in Duterte's "narco list," ABS-CBN News reported.

UPLB: 'Affront to our dearly held respect for human rights'

In a statement on Friday, December 4, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) said the killing of Perez is an "affront to our dearly held respect for human rights and must be investigated immediately."

UPLB said that Perez was a staunch ally and supporter of the university. "He helped our campus secure and free from criminal elements through a partnership we have nurtured with the local government of Los Baños and the barangays where the UPLB campus is located," it added.

UPLB also appealed to the residents of Los Baños to denounce the "utter disregard for the judicial process." – Rappler.com