By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III expressed sadness over the killing of Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija who was reportedly ambushed while traveling in his vehicle in Cabanatuan City on Tuesday afternoon.
Bote’s death came just a day after Mayor Antonio Halili was shot dead at the Monday flag ceremony in Tanauan City, Batangas.
Pimentel said he was saddened by the news of Bote’s murder. Bote was a member of the ruling Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
“Masakit na balita yan. Nakaka-lungkot,” Pimentel, PDP-Laban president, told reporters.
Senators have raised concern over the recent attacks to local government officials.
“Another Mayor gunned down this afternoon! What is happening? Why are local execs being targeted?” Sen. JV Ejercito tweeted as reports on Mayor Bote’s death came out.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, a former mayor of Valenzuela City, also expressed fear for the safety of local chief executives.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, in a statement, said he is alarmed with the attacks on local officials in broad daylight.
“We urge the authorities to investigate the brazen killing of our local officials. Perpetrators must be immediately held liable and justice must be served,” Villanueva said.
To address the spate of killings, Pimentel urged police to improve their visibility and crime-solving efficiency.
He also appealed to the government lessen the number of firearms in the country and crack down on unlicensed arms.