By Ali G. Macabalang
A town mayor in North Cotabato alongside his driver was killed in an ambush this morning, Jan. 11, according reports reaching the Philippine Muslim Today news desk.
The fatalities were named as Libungan municipal Mayor Christopher “Amping” Cuan, 47, and Edwin Navarro, driver of the mayor.
Citing initial police reports, media relations workers of North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco said Mayor Cuan aboard his private car was on his way to inspect the construction of a cockpit building at barangay Kabaruyan in Libungan town when four unidentified men armed with long assault rifles fired upon his vehicle around 10:30 a.m.
The attackers were aboard an SUV vehicle that tailed, overtook and fired rounds of gunshots at the victims’ car, killing the mayor and his driver instantly, according to a sketchy police report aired over a radio station her by Jun Obillo and Esther Roque, both media relations workers from the governor’s office.
One or two other persons were also aboard the mayor’s car but their plight after the ambush could not be ascertained as of press time, according to Randy Patches, also a media relations worker of the governor’s office.
Patches said the mayor and his drivers sustained bullet wounds in the head.
Police elements staged a pursuit operation on the attackers’ car, Patches said.
The slain mayor survived an earlier attempt on his life when an assassin’s bullet failed to hit him in a broad daylight daring attack at the vicinity of Libungan on Jan. 7, 2019.
A lone gunman entered the one-story town hall and attacked Cuan but the suspect instead wounded a utility worker, according to published reports.
Cuan, also known as “Mayor Amping,” was on President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug watch list and subjected to police search operations two years ago. But police did not find illegal drugs from the mayor, earlier media reports said.
The office of Gov. Catamco, through Obillo and Duque, conveyed condolences to relatives and friends of the slain mayor. AGM