Philippines mayor accused of drug trafficking shot dead

Manila, Nov 5 (IANS) A former Philippines mayor accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of being involved in the drug trade was shot dead on Saturday in the prison he was being held in, police said.

Roland Espinosa, former mayor of Albuera on Leyte Island, surrendered to police last month after being included in a list of more than 100 judges, politicians, military and police officials accused by Duterte of drug trafficking, Efe news reported.

Duterte released the list in August, a month after taking office and launching a violent campaign to wipe out drug trafficking, in which over 4,000 persons were killed by police and vigilante groups.

According to the police, the incident, which occurred early Saturday at the Baybay prison in Leyte, was sparked by Espinosa, who fired at officials ordered to search his prison cell for firearms.

The officers returned fire, killing the former mayor and his cellmate, who was also accused of being involved in the drug trade, a police official told Radio Inquirer 990.

Espinosa had been charged with illegal possession of arms and drugs after police found 11.5 kg of methamphetamine and several firearms in his house.

Espinosa is the second mayor involved in drug trafficking to be killed in a shootout with the police in the last two weeks.

Samsudin Dimaukom, former mayor of Datu Saudi in the southern island of Mindanao’s Maguindanao province, died on October 28 in a shootout started by his security personnel when his vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint for inspection.