By Genalyn Kabiling
The government will “leave no stone unturned” in the probe on the killing of Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili even after President Duterte suspected that he was involved in the narcotics trade, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Palace was alarmed by the brazen killing of Halili, and assured that authorities would conduct a thorough investigation.
“Despite the suspicion of the President, of course, we are alarmed because killings of this nature should not be happening…What we are alarmed at is the fact that it was broad daylight and in such a public manner,” Roque said.
“We have promised that we will leave no stones unturned in the investigation,” he added.
He said the President merely voiced his suspicion about the slain mayor, but such statement would not affect the probe.
“Sinabi nga niya suspetsa lang habang hindi pa nag-uumpisa ang imbestigasyon [He said it was just his suspicion while the investigation has not yet started],” he said.
“Ang pangako ng gobyerno magkakaroon ng malawakang imbestigasyon, malalimang imbestigasyon ng malaman kung sino talaga ang nasa likod sa pagpatay dito kay Mayor Halili [And the government vows a thorough investigation to find out who was behind the killing of Mayor Halili],” he added.
Asked about the culture of impunity in the country, Roque said: ‘What we can assure you is that we are discharging the state obligation for every murder. We will investigate and accord the victims adequate domestic remedy.”
Halili was shot dead by an assassin while presiding a flag-raising ceremony at the city hall last Monday. He was initially known for his anti-crime crusade but was eventually stripped of police power last year amid allegations he was a protector of drug syndicates.
The President recently raised suspicion that Halili was allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. He claimed that Halili’s penchant of parading drug addicts was only for show.
“I heard today that Halili has died. But we’re suspecting that it’s drug-related. It’s just a suspicion but you’ll know the reason eventually,” he said during his visit to Maasin, Southern Leyte last Monday.
Duterte said he doesn’t know who killed Halili but stressed that he has repeatedly warned local officials against getting involved in drugs.