Manila: A town mayor in Cebu was shot by gunmen inside his office Wednesday late night, the latest in a series of attacks on local government executives.
Reports said Mayor Mariano Blanco III of Ronda town was in his office at the municipal hall at 1:30am on Wednesday when four men barged into the building.
The state-run Philippine News Agency said the suspects who came in a white van ordered two watchmen on duty to lay flat on their bellies at gunpoint before making their way to Blanco’s office where they shot him.
Authorities found the mayor was still alive and took him to the hospital where he died shortly after.
Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III condemned the killing of his political ally.
Davide said Blanco had told him that he had been receiving threats to his life.
Blanco become controversial after he and several other mayors were stripped of authority over local police due to their alleged links to drugs last year.
Blanco had denied any drug links.
The Cebu Daily News reported that Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, ordered the creation of a Special Investigation Task Group to investigate the killing.
Abrugena also said the incident may also be connected to the killing of his own former vice-mayor and lawyer Jonah John Ungab several weeks ago.
Blanco had been staying at the municipal hall amid threats to his life.
A number of local executives who had also been identified by President Rodrigo Duterte to have drug links had been killed before.