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Killing of village chair draws attention to series of slays

A village chair in Pasay City was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday, a case that again drew attention to what may be an increasingly dangerous environment for local officials after several mayors and vice mayors were slain in quick succession last month.

In Pasay City alone, Barangay 28 Captain Jovie Decena was at least the third village chair to be killed since January.

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Between July 2 and July 11, two mayors and two vice mayors had been killed—Tanauan, Batangas, Mayor Antonio Halili on July 2; General Tinio, Nueva Ecija, Mayor Ferdinand Bote on July 3; Trece Martires City, Cavite, Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan on July 7; and Sapa Sapa, Tawi-Tawi, Vice Mayor Al Rashid Mohammad Ali on July 11.

A report from the Southern Police District (SPD) said Decena was shot by two motorcycle-riding suspects at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday on Villaruel Street, where he also lived.

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Street execution

The 47-year-old village chief had been sitting in a village outpost on the street when the suspects approached him and opened fire.

Decena was rushed to Pasay General Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

The suspects, who remain at large, fled toward A. Luna Street in Pasay.

Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario Jr., SPD director, said officials had visited Decena’s home in 2016 under Oplan Tokhang, a police campaign to convince drug suspects to reform without the use of force.

Apolinario, however, said Decena did not surrender and instead wrote a letter, with the help of his lawyer, declaring that he was not involved in drugs.

Investigators were also looking into the possibility that Decena’s killing was related to the killing of his brother, who was also shot dead by unidentified gunmen, Apolinario added.

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Sitting ducks

Prior to the killing of Decena, two other village officials, Abdul Munap Akok of Barangay 14 and Teresita Biscocho of Barangay 1, were killed in January and May.

Anthony Joseph Echavez, who was running for councilor of Barangay 4, was also shot dead in May, although police believed the motive was personal grudge.

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TAGS: local government, Pasay, village chair
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