CHR probing ‘brazen’ murder of mayor while in police custody
Updated @ 10:41 p.m., Oct. 28, 2019
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Central Visayas region started an investigation of the killing of Mayor David Navarro of Clarin town, Misamis Occidental, who was attacked by armed men while he was in police custody in Cebu City last week.
Arvin Odron, CHR regional director, said the commission formed a quick response team to investigate the murder immediately after the mayor was ambushed while he was being transported by the police to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday afternoon.
“CHR took cognizance of the case motu proprio and conducted an investigation on the arbitrary killing of Mayor David Navarro,” he said in a text message to the Inquirer.
At least four masked men, carrying high-powered firearms, reportedly dragged the mayor out of a police car and shot and killed him on M. Velez Street in Barangay Guadalupe here.
The attack happened a day after Navarro was arrested for allegedly beating up a masseur in a local spa. The mayor, who was on the narcolist of President Rodrigo Duterte, was in Cebu to attend a workshop.
Odron expressed dismay over Navarro’s killing, which he said happened while the mayor was under police custody.
“Criminals nowadays are brazenly committing crimes with impunity, doing such in broad daylight. And in this case … even in front of law enforcement agents. [This is] so shocking and revealing of our impotency to protect life,” he said.
In a social media post, Misamis Occidental Board Member Elsa Navarro, the slain mayor’s wife, said her husband sent her a text message early on Friday worrying about his safety.
Navarro, in his message, apologized for shaming Elsa and their family when he attacked a masseur. The mayor, however, said his action was in response to a provocation, which he did not elaborate.
“I am sorry, I don’t know if I could still be alive in the hands of the police here in Cebu,” Navarro said in his text message in Bisaya.
At a press conference on Monday, officials of the Central Visayas police maintained that there was no negligence on the part of policemen who were accompanying Navarro at the time of the attack.
Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, regional police director, said the police would investigate the officers who escorted Navarro to determine if there were security lapses.
“The incident happened so fast that the police escorts were caught by surprise. The killing was done in just a minute that our policemen were not able to react,” De Leon said.
He gave the special investigation task group, led by Col. Gemma Vinluan, Cebu City police chief, a month to identify and arrest suspects.
In Misamis Occidental, the late mayor’s brother, Dan, a former politician, decried reports linking Navarro to robbery and illegal drugs.
Dan said official records did not support these claims.
He said a Makati City court had certified that his brother had “no pending case/s” and was not included in a robbery case filed against three suspects. He also showed reporters a document from the Department of Justice, dated July 25, 2018, certifying that the mayor had no pending cases in the agency.
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