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Politics eyed in vice mayor’s slay

By AARON RECUENCO

Police investigators are eyeing local politics as the reason behind the assassination of a Tawi-Tawi town vice mayor who was gunned down in Zamboanga City Wednesday.

Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said initial investigation revealed that there is no other reasons so far that would prompt anybody to have Al-Rashid Mohammad Ali killed.

Ali, he said, is a last termer for vice mayor of the Sapa-Sapa town of Tawi-Tawi and is being groomed to replace his father, the incumbent mayor of the same town.

“Even the family is saying that they see no other reason but local politics because he is the possible mayoralty candidate in next year’s elections,” said Albayalde.

Ali, accompanied by his wife and police security escort, was repeatedly shot by a lone gunman on Gov. Alvarez in Camino Nueva, Zamboanga City at around 5 p.m. while on board a vehicle.

Aside from Ali, also wounded was his police escort identified as PO1 Abdulmurib Hadjirul. The attacker fled on motorcycle.

The attack on Ali occurred while the police are still scrambling to solve three other cases of attacks on local executives—Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili, General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote and Trece Martirez City, Cavite Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan.

Business is being eyed as the motive behind the killing of the two mayors while politics is also being looked into as the most likely motive in the death of Lubigan.

Albayalde said the four separate killings are not connected, thus, there is no pattern of attacks on local officials.

The murders of local executives have prompted the PNP leadership to order police commanders to prepare early election security plan and to go after gun-for-hire syndicates.

Albayalde said the move is a preventive measure since killings of local officials are usually prevalent before, during and after election period.

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