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MANILA, Philippines – Another mayor with alleged links to illegal drugs was added to the long list of local executives killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Mayor Mariano Blanco III of Ronda, Cebu was shot inside his own office at the town hall on Wednesday, September 5, and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
A mayor since 2010, Blanco has been in public service for more than two decades.
He first served as municipal councilor from 1995 until 1998 when he ran for mayor. Blanco won and held mayorship for 9 years.
Facing term limitation, Blanco ran and won as vice mayor in 2007. He was then reelected as mayor in 2010 and served until he was killed in 2018.
Blanco ran under the Liberal Party in 2013 and 2016. But in 2017, he told SunStar that he would join PDP-Laban.
In October 2017, Blanco was stripped of police powers as ordered by the National Police Commission due to his alleged links to illegal drugs.
In an interview with radio station DWIZ, Blanco said he has been a government official for so long and it was the first time his name was tainted with controversy.
But Blanco was also facing graft charges at the Sandiganbayan, together with 5 other municipal officials. He posted bail in December 2017, according to a SunStar report.
The Office of the Ombudsman found that he and other officials failed to post invitations to bid for local projects at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (Philgeps) website.
The Ombudsman, in a press release, said they face 15 counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
Second Ronda exec killed
Blanco is the second local executive of Ronda, Cebu to be killed.
In February 2017, Ronda town vice mayor Jonah John Ungab was killed in an ambush after attending a court hearing at the Cebu City Hall of Justice.
He was the lawyer of suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa for his Comelec gun ban case.
Ungab is Blanco’s nephew. – Rappler.com