PNP forms task group to probe Tanauan City mayor’s killing

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) formed a special investigation task group (SITG) to look into the killing of Mayor Antonio Halili who was shot dead during Monday’s flag-raising ceremonies at the Tanauan City hall in Batangas.

Speaking to newsmen, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde clarified that they are still awaiting the official report on the incident and will await the SITG report.

The police chief described as assumptions, unverified reports that a high-powered rifle was used by a lone gunman who managed to escape after the 8 a.m. incident at the New City Hall, Barangay Natatas, Tanauan City.

He was brought to the CP Reyes Medical Center where he was declared dead on arrival by the attending physician, Dr. Alexandrix Carandang.

Albayalde also clarified that it had been the decision of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to officially recall Halili’s powers over local police officers last December.

The PNP chief pointed out that despite the Napolcom directive, the PNP is still duty bound to work “to maintain peace and security” of all persons in their respective areas.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice said it is ready to provide assistance to the PNP in solving the case.

“We’ll let the police do the investigation (for now). I will direct the NBI to get involved as may be warranted by circumstances,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a statement. Benjamin Pulta with reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/