MANILA, Philippines – Another La Union politician was killed by unidentified gunmen.
Balaoan Vice Mayor Al-fred Concepcion, together with his security escort Mike Ulep, died in an ambush on Wednesday, November 14, while on the way to the municipal hall.
He is the 7th vice mayor killed under President Rodrigo Duterte, based on police and media reports collated by Rappler. (GALLERY: Who are the mayors, vice mayors killed under Duterte?)
A veteran politician and lawyer, Concepcion was in government service for almost 26 years.
The 61-year-old started his career as a provincial board member in La Union. He served in the board for 3 terms from 1992 to 2001.
He became Balaoan vice mayor in 2001 and was elected mayor in 2007.
He was then reelected mayor in 2010 under Lakas-Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino, and under the Nationalist People's Coalition in 2013.
In 2016, after reaching the term limit, Concepcion ran and won as vice mayor under the Liberal Party. His daughter, Aleli, took over the mayoral position.
Concepcion's work in Balaoan, according to the municipality's profile, earned him the monicker "Mr Aksyon."
"He turned around the finances of the local government from perennial deficits to the generation of more incomes and savings to bankroll various development priority projects," the profile reads.
He is also the son of late regional trial court judge and board member Castor Concepcion.
Concepcion is the 7th vice mayor killed since July 2016. His death brings the total of mayors and vice mayors killed to 19 as of November 14, 2018.
He is also the second La Union politician killed. Sudipen Mayor Alex Buquing was ambushed by unidentified men last October 1.
The rising number of officials killed comes against the backdrop of what human rights organizations call a "culture of impunity." – Rappler.com
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.