Maguindanao mayor killed in Manila by motorcycle-riding gunmen
Police investigators gather evidence around the lifelessbody of Talitay mayor Abdulwahab Sabal at the entrance of a hotel in Malate, Manila following a shooting incident which killed Sabal by unidentified motorcycle riding gunmen on Monday night.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
Maguindanao mayor killed in Manila by motorcycle-riding gunmen
Franco Luna ( - February 11, 2020 - 12:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — Mayor Abdul Wahab Sabal of Talitay, Maguindanao was gunned down in Malate, Manila on Monday night, reports said. 

According to reports by the Manila Police District, Sabal was shot by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle right outside a hotel in Quirino Avenue a little after 10 p.m.

The mayor was earlier included in President Rodrigo Duterte's narco-list and consequently was arrested and brought before the Justice department in September 2016. 

READ: ‘Narco vice mayor’ being probed for Davao blast

He was also investigated for alleged involvement in the Davao City bombing on September 2, 2016, although then-police chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa later retracted this allegation, saying: “His arrest is not for being the mastermind of the Davao bombing. It is too early to say. Give us time"

'Narco-list' execs 

Sabal is not the first local chief executive who was shot dead after inclusion on the president's list. 

Barangay chairperson Aileen Guidotong was shot in August of last year by an unknown man wearing a mask. Another local official in the narco-list, Mayor David Navarro of Clarin, Misamis Occidental, was also murdered in October 2019 while in police custody after vehicle was ambushed by ten masked men in a white van

In September 2018, Mayor Mariano Blanco III of Ronda town in Cebu was shot dead while he was sleeping in his office. In June of that year, Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman during a flag-raising ceremony at city hall.

In May 2018, Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot survived an ambush on him and members of his family.

In 2017, Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and his relatives were killed in a police raid on his house. Authorities said the mayor was killed in a shootout with police.

In November 2016, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed during what police said was a shootout while they were executing a search warrant in the mayor's jail cell in the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City, Leyte.

In October 2016, Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom was shot in an alleged shootout with authorities in Makilala, North Cotabato. Authorities said they had flagged him down because of a tip that his convoy was transporting illegal drugs.

READ: 25 local official in narco list win in polls

On March 14, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte released a list of 46 local government officials allegedly linked to illegal drug activity. The list was publicized the following day in a release by the Presidential Communications Operations Office. 

It was the second such list. The first list was read out during a live press conference in 2016.

Malacañang earlier said that the intention behind publicizing the 2019 list was to inform voters' decisions in the midterm elections so they would not vote for those with alleged links to the illegal drug trade. Groups, however, have called it a potential hit list. 

The Commission of Human Rights, for instance, said in an earlier release that, “If there is enough evidence for the government to put names in a supposed narco-list, then the just way to proceed is to file charges against these personalities to make them accountable before our laws."

“My decision to unmask these drug personalities was anchored on my trust in the government agencies who have vetted and validated the narco-list,” Duterte said in an earlier release. “I have no intention to hurt anybody.”

At a press conference on Monday, Duterte again emphasized the severity of the drug problem in the country.  "Isingit ko nalang ha, pero itong droga, until now [...] it's still at this late day, the drug problem is still with us and by the millions. It is the next generation who will suffer if we fail," he said. — with reports from The STAR/Rey Galupo and Gaea Katreena Cabico

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