North Cotabato town mayor gunned down

Published January 11, 2021, 2:16 PM

by Keith Bacongco

DAVAO CITY – Unidentified assailants gunned down Libungan Mayor Christopher “Amping” Cuan while he was inspecting the construction of his cockpit in his home village of Cabaruyan around 10:30 a.m. Monday, January 11.

Probers examine the crime scene where Libungan Mayor Christopher "Amping" Cuan and his driver were gunned down on Monday morning. (Photo via Keith Bacongco / MANILA BULLETIN

Probers examine the body of  Libungan Mayor Christopher “Amping” Cuan after he was gunned down on Monday morning in his home village of Cabaruyan in Libungan, North Cotabato. (Photo via Keith Bacongco / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a report from the Police Regional Office Region12 (PRO-12), Cuan had just arrived from this city, and was at the construction site of his cockpit when at least four unidentified suspects shot him and his driver.

According to the PRO-12 initial report, initial investigation showed that the suspects were onboard a blue SUV, and had been tailing them to the construction site before they opened fire at the victims with high-powered weapons.

The cockpit was about a kilometer away from Cuan’s residence, also in Cabaruyan.

Also killed in the shooting incident was Cuan’s driver Edwin Navarro Ihao, 36, and a resident of the same town.

Quoting witnesses from the crime scene, a former local government official and friend of Cuan, told The Manila Bulletin over the phone that Cuan was about to board his vehicle when the suspects shot his driver.

The official, who requested anonymity, added that the mayor, who was just wearing shorts and sandals, had just concluded a meeting with his workers and was about to board his vehicle when the suspects shot them.

He added that Cuan was reportedly able to run about 10 meters towards the construction site before his attackers caught up with him.

The 46-year old mayor survived a slay attempt on January 7, 2019 inside the municipal hall.

Cuan was among the mayors included in the narco-list of President Duterte.

And despite his denial of involvement in illegal drugs operations, Cuan was reportedly still subjected to police operations three years ago.

In October 2016, the police raided Cuan’s house, gasoline station and a warehouse but found no illegal drugs. Instead, the police recovered firearms and ammunition.

Cuan was eventually released after he posted bail.

Meanwhile, North Cotabato Vice Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza condemned the killing of Cuan, saying that the killing of the mayor did not only orphan his family, but his constituents, as well, as they looked up to him for leadership.

“The Sangguniang Panlalawigan and I call for a speedy and thorough investigation to attain justice for the beloved mayor,” Mendoza said in a text message sent to Manila Bulletin.