After Clarin, Misamis Occidental Mayor David Navarro was shot dead by several gunmen despite being in the middle of a police convoy, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday tapped the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the killing instead of the Philippine National Police.
"PNP, anong ginawa ng PNP? Baka sila ang pumatay, sila 'yung malapit," Duterte said, speaking to reporters in Malacañang after an oath-taking ceremony.
Duterte directed the PNP to stop its ongoing probe and hand over the documents and evidence to the NBI.
“To make it really fair,” he said, noting that the incident happened while Navarro was in police custody.
The President confirmed reports that he recently met with Navarro, one of his election supporters. Duterte said Navarro claimed that “somebody was out to get him.”
Because Duterte has control over the executive department, including the PNP and the NBI, his directive should be enough for the NBI to start its investigation, said Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete.
He said the Department of Justice will issue a department order reiterating the president's instruction "purely for record-keeping purposes."
Duterte's order "should quell any doubts regarding this government's commitment to solve the case and bring to account those responsible," Perete said in a message to reporters.
Navarro, who was on the government’s "narcolist" of politicians with alleged links to the illegal drug trade, was killed in an ambush in Cebu City on October 25 while he was being transported to the City Prosecutor's Office. The gunmen fled the scene.
The ambush took place a day after Navarro was arrested for allegedly punching a massage therapist and supposedly asking one of the female employees to perform lewd acts.
The mayor was in a convoy of three police vehicles when the attack happened.
In the first car were four Cebu City police officers, the two complainants, a witness, and a friend of the witness.
In the second vehicle were Navarro, his sisters Princess and Lang Lang, a Clarin police officer, and a relative of the Navarros.
In the third vehicle were two police escorts in civilian clothing, family friends, and Clarin municipal Hall employees.
They were ambushed by five to 10 gunmen, who quickly incapacitated the police officers and shot Navarro several times.
The first car had already made a turn when the attack happened, so only the second and third vehicle in the convoy were blocked.
After reenacting the crime, Region 7 police chief Brigadier General Valeriano De Leon said that the police did not fire back because the attack happened too quickly. — with Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas and Jonathan Andal/BM, GMA News