Cops: Philippine Mayor Killed in Jail Cell Shootout

Duterte critics aren't buying explanation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 5, 2016 10:24 AM CDT
Philippine Cops: Drug-Linked Mayor Killed in Jail Shootout
Rolando "Kerwin" Espinosa Jr., the mayor's son, was arrested in Abu Dhabi last month.   (Interpol via AP)

(Newser) – Philippine police killed a town mayor in his jail cell in a purported shootout on Saturday, the second killing in a week of a politician linked to illegal drugs under President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal crackdown. Rolando Espinosa Sr., the mayor of the town of Albuera in the central province of Leyte, and a fellow inmate were shot dead before dawn after they fired at officers who staged a raid in search of firearms and illegal drugs in the provincial jail, police say. Some officials and an anti-crime watchdog have called for an investigation, wondering how the mayor and the other inmate got hold of guns and what prompted them to clash with several policemen while in detention, the AP reports.

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"Offhand, I can smell extrajudicial killing," says 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 allegedly killed another town mayor, Samsudin Dimaukom, and nine of his men in a shootout. Espinosa and Dimaukom were among more than 160 officials named publicly by Duterte in August as part of a shame campaign. Espinosa surrendered to the national police chief later that month in a nationally televised event. He was later released, but was arrested last month after being indicted on drug and firearm charges. (Read more Rodrigo Duterte stories.)

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