Philippines probe spate of brazen politician murders

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MANILA: Philippine authorities were Sunday investigating the brazen killing of a vice mayor near Manila, the third deadly attack by gunmen against local officials in less than a week.

The country has a violent, often deadly political culture, but watchdogs are concerned President Rodrigo Duterte‘s drug war may be emboldening assailants.

Police said there was no clear connection between the slaying Saturday of Alexander Lubigan, vice mayor of the city of Trece Martires south of Manila, and the killings of two mayors just days before.

However Wilnor Papa, Philippine spokesman for Amnesty International, told AFP that while political violence was not new, “Duterte he has aggravated it through his pronouncements.”

“The Duterte administration is empowering vigilante killings,” he added, citing Duterte’s calls for ordinary citizens to kill drug dealers and his vow to protect officers who get sued while pursuing his drug campaign.

A sniper shot Mayor Antonio Halili, who was on…

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