Mayor Mariano Blanco III of Ronda, Cebu was killed on Wednesday, September 5 when unidentified men broke into his office and shot him. The intrusion and attack happened at around 1:30 am, according to Ronda police chief Senior Inspector JR Palcon.
Blanco was declared dead on arrival once brought to a nearby hospital. A report filed with police by the two job order watchmen at the town hall on Wednesday night says that the armed assailants arrived in a white van, quickly pointing their guns and demanding the watchmen to drop to the ground.
Investigator SP01 Dionisio Tagupa of the Ronda city police confirmed that Blanco was shot as he slept in the mayor’s office at the municipal hall.
“After a second, a burst of fire was heard from the mayor’s office and then the unidentified persons left,” said Tagupa. Following this, the employees ventured into the mayor’s office and there discovered Blanco’s body.
Blanco had reportedly begun sleeping in his office because his own residence was distant from the town hall. Police chief Palcon confirmed that Blanco had been living in this arrangement for a while.
It is also possible that Blanco had begun sleeping in his office in fear for his safety. Blanco was one of the alleged narco-politicians personally named by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.
Ronda town is located about 82 km southwest of Cebu City. Eight month’s prior, the town was rocked by the death of its vice mayor and the late Blanco’s nephew, Jonnah John Ungab. Outside public service, Ungab also served as legal counsel for the notorious confessed drug personality Kerwin Espinosa. He was gunned down by unidentified assailants outside Cebu City’s courthouse in February of this year.
The crime scene is still being processed, and Ronda police are speaking to witnesses who may help identify the perpetrators.