Philippine Mayor Killed in Jail Cell
Man was among officials Rodrigo Duterte named on list of drug-linked officials
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 6, 2016 9:07 AM CST
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In this Oct. 26, 2016 file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech in Tokyo. Philippine police killed a town mayor in his jail cell in a purported gunbattle on Saturday, Nov. 5.   (Eugene Hoshiko)

(Newser) – Philippine police killed a town mayor in his jail cell in a purported gunbattle, the second killing in a week of a politician linked to illegal drugs under President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal crackdown. Rolando Espinosa Sr., mayor of the town of Albuera, and a fellow inmate were shot dead before dawn Saturday after they fired at officers who staged a raid in search of firearms and illegal drugs in the provincial jail. Some officials have called for an investigation of the circumstances of the killings, reports the AP, wondering how the mayor and the other inmate got hold of guns and what prompted them to clash with several policemen while in detention. "Offhand, I can smell extrajudicial killing," said Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former national police chief, adding that the suspicious deaths were the "biggest challenge" to the credibility of the national police force, which is undertaking the anti-drug crackdown.

Last week, police killed another town mayor, Samsudin Dimaukom, and nine of his men allegedly in a gunbattle in the southern Philippines. Espinosa and Dimaukom were among more than 160 officials named publicly by Duterte in August as part of a shame campaign. Espinosa's son, an alleged drug lord, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates' capital city of Abu Dhabi last month. After being linked by Duterte to illegal drugs, Espinosa surrendered to the national police chief in August in a nationally televised event. He was later released, but was arrested last month after being indicted on drug and illegal possession of firearm charges. The unprecedented crackdown and killings have helped ease crime, but the US and other Western governments, along with human rights watchdogs, have been alarmed. One human rights advocate has called the killings a "human rights calamity."
 

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