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Former Philippine mayor killed hours after President Duterte threatens to slit throats of big-time drug dealers

Published: January 5, 2019
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Mr Talib Abo, former mayor of Parang town, Maguindanao province, in the volatile southern part of the Philippines, died after a shoot-out with anti-drug enforcers who were attempting to execute a search warrant just past midnight on Friday, according to police reports.

His brother Bobby was killed in a separate raid at around the same time.

"They resisted and shot it out with our teams," Mr Juvenal Azurin, head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the area, told the online news site Rappler.

Mr Abo is the sixth mayor killed in the government's controversial drug war, which has left over 5,000 dead since Mr Duterte came to power in June 2016.

In 2006, Mr Duterte accused Mr Abo of smuggling 3.5 kilos of crystal meth, known locally as "shabu", to Davao city using an ambulance. Mr Duterte was at the time mayor of Davao city.

Mr Duterte said Mr Abo and his wife headed a "vast network" of drug dealers in the central and southern parts of the war-torn southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

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"If you are a big time player, I will not forgive you. I will slit your throat in front of human rights (activists) . I don't care. I'm telling you not to do that to my country. I will get you. So I could not be more clear," he said at a birthday party of one of his top political supporters on Thursday evening.

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The Philippines’ Interior Ministry has announced plans to provide some 42,000 community leaders with free handguns to ramp up the statewide battle against drugs and crime, which continues to draw the ire of human rights defenders. The decision to give state-issued handguns to the community leaders – known locally as barangay captains – was announced by the ministry on Wednesday. The Philippines’ barangay localities vary in size and may be described roughly as districts or neighborhoods. The main condition to acquire a gun for barangay captains is to be willing to fight crime and to not be engaged in illicit activities themselves. The said guns will be provided free-of-charge or the state will subsidize a private purchase of a captain’s gun of choice.

As the extrajudicial killing of people for alleged drug offences continues in the Philippines, the president’s son has been cleared of trafficking - following a formal investigation. Paolo Duterte, son of leader Rodrigo Duterte, had been accused of involvement in the attempted importation of 602kg of methamphetamine (often referred to as “shabu”) into the Philippines from China in 2017. The haul, valued by the state at $125million, was found in a shipment of printing cylinders. The president’s son-in-law was also alleged to be involved in the plot, and has also been cleared of involvement.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said that if it weren't for his dictatorial style, his country would stagnate and never improve.

Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte hammered home his new policy on car smuggling by overseeing the demolition of dozens of seized luxury vehicles worth almost $1.2 million. Some 29 smuggled high-end vehicles, including models of BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, and Corvette, were simultaneously crushed by road rollers at three of the country’s ports on Tuesday.

Tough-talking Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte has ordered law enforcement to shoot him if he ever pursues dictatorship ambitions and stays in power longer than the constitution allows. "If I overstay and wanted to become a dictator, shoot me, I am not joking," the president told the troops on Monday.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has made a name for himself carrying out a most brutal war on drugs, publicly urging police and civilians to summarily execute drug users and dealers. This campaign of mass murder has so far claimed thousands of lives. President Trump even called Duterte in April to praise him personally, saying, “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

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