Akbayan rep. blames Duterte for murders of two mayors

Opposition lawmaker Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin on Wednesday blamed President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly causing the lack of rule of law in the country which has led to the gruesome murders of two mayors in two days.

Villarin said the murders of Tanauan City Batangas and General Tinio Nueva Ecija mayors showed that once the rule of law is abandoned, “anybody with a gun and a grudge has a license to kill people without worrying about the consequences.”

He said this “free license was given by Duterte himself by making it clear that no one will face legal repercussions for the extrajudicial killings that are done in pursuit of his anti-illegal drug policy and tagged in his so-called reversed ‘Schindler’s list.'”

The opposition lawmaker’s remark came after Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio town in Nueva Ecija was killed in an ambush in Cabanatuan City on Tuesday, a day after Mayor Antonio Halili was shot by a sniper outside the Tanauan City Hall in Batangas.

READ: Nueva Ecija mayor dead in ambush

READ: Tanauan mayor dead after flag ceremony shooting / Tanauan mayor gunned down while singing national anthem – witnesses

While Filipinos might believe things are improving, the killings instead end up “provoking a self-reinforcing cycle of worsening insecurity, vigilantism, and counter-violence,” according to the congressman.

“Duterte’s attack against institutions upholding the rule of law has led to a weakened state and a population desperate for security thereby pushing everyone to bad decisions culminating to a vicious cycle of violence that destroys society,” Villarin also said.

Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus for her part, called for a thorough and impartial investigation into the violent killings in the hopes that these would not be just another contribution to the “worsening culture of impunity” in the country.

“First our condolences to the family. Strong condemnation to the cowardly and violent killings! A thorough and impartial investigation is needed and hope these cases would not be just another contribution to the worsening culture of impunity,” she said.

READ: Pangilinan: Ecija mayor’s killing ‘reminder of breakdown of law and order’

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured the public that the government would “spare no effort” to bring justice for the death of Bote.

READ: Palace on Ecija town mayor’s slay: We will spare no effort in getting justice

Malacañang has also condemned the killing of Halili, whom Roque called “napakatibay na kasangga ng Presidente sa giyera laban sa droga (strong ally of the President in the fight against illegal drugs).”

Halili, known for his shame campaign for parading drug suspects and criminals around his city, was earlier included in the list of “narco-politicians” but the mayor has denied links to the illegal narcotics trade.  /muf

READ: Palace condemns killing of Tanauan mayor, vows justice for kin

RELATED STORY: Tanauan mayor’s slay ‘shows how rule of law has been abandoned’ – solon

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