Another Philippine mayor linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has been killed inside jail, the latest high-profile killing after a serving mayor was shot dead last week by police anti-drug squad.
Rolando Espinosa, who was formerly mayor of Albuera, Leyte, was shot dead inside the Baybay City provincial jail, police have said. The mayor was imprisoned in October under drug charges. Another inmate in his prison cell, named Raul Yap, has also been killed, reports say.
Prison officials said Espinosa was killed while being served a search warrant by CIDG Region 8, according to ABS-CBN News. Espinosa was named in the so-called kill list of President Duterte, who clinched a presidential election promising to tackle crime and drug trade mercilessly. His open threat to kill drug peddlers and the mafia and the subsequent extra judicial killings that claimed nearly 4,000 lives have invited wide international condemnation.
Espinosa was clearly mentioned in Duterte's list as one of the politicians who are linked to the illegal drug trade. He was arrested in October for illegal drug possession. Subsequent to his arrest, his son Kerwin was arrested in the gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Last week, the mayor of Saudi Ampatuan, Samsudin Dimaukom, was shot dead along with nine members of his convey in a pre-dawn swoop in Maguindanao. The slain mayor figured in a list Duterte approved and published in August, which contained the names of drug peddlers and mafia operatives his government intended to eliminate. In September, the anti-drug squad had raided his pink mansion in Datu Saudi city.
Since Duterte won the election and took office on 30 June, the Philippine law enforcement and vigilante groups have killed more than 3,800 people as part of a campaign against drugs, which apparently will save the country.
While around 1,500 alleged drug peddlers died in police operations, others were killed by armed vigilante publicly encouraged by Duterte.
"We have 3 million drug addicts and it's growing. So if we do not interdict this problem, the next generation will be having a serious problem," Duterte once said. "You destroy my country, I'll kill you. And it's a legitimate thing. If you destroy our young children, I will kill you. That is a very correct statement. There is nothing wrong in trying to preserve the interest of the next generation," the president added.