Mayor of Tanauan city Antonio Cando Halili (Photo: Bullit Marquez/AP)

Hanoi (VNA) – Mayor of Batangas province’s Tanauan city Antonio Cando Halili was shot dead on July 2 while attending a weekly flag raising ceremony for government officials.

Local police said that he was dead on arrival at hospital from a single bullet wound to the chest, sustained as he and civil servants sang the national anthem in the city.

Investigation is underway.

Halili gained prominence after he organised a parade of alleged drug dealers through his city.

According to the Philippine police, more than 4,200 suspected drug dealers were killed during a fight against drugs launched by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

In October, 2017, Halili was stripped of his supervisory powers over local police due to a proliferation of illegal drugs in his city, amid allegations by the national police that he may have been involved.

He denied all allegations and said that he backed Duterte’s campaign but believed drug kingpins should be the main targets.-VNA