Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's no-holds-barred war on drugs has claimed the highest profile victim so far as 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.
Operatives in Duterte's anti-drug commando wing intercepted mayor Dimaukom's convoy at a checkpoint in Barangay Bulatukan, Makilala, North Cotabato, before daybreak on Friday, October 28, local reports said.
Reports about the circumstances of the killing of Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom vary in details. As per the police report, the mayor's car, which led the convoy, did not stop at the checkpoint but his security guards started firing at the state anti-drug operatives.
The state operatives intercepted mayor Dimaukom's convoy after they received information that "the group will transport illegal drugs to Maguindanao and Cotabato area," the Rappler reported, citing Philippines police officials.
Dimaukom was in the lead car, and when the agents flagged it down his security opened the door and started firing their guns, Major Jovit Culaway, head of Mindanao's anti-illegal drug unit, said, according to Rappler.
Dimaukom is a member of the Liberal Party of former president Aquino. He won the May 2016 elections to become mayor of the city.