Photo from Sudipen local government
MANILA, Philippines – Mayor Alexander “Alan” Buquing of Sudipen, La Union, is the latest in the long list of local executives killed since 2016, under the Duterte administration.
Buquing, 50, was dead on arrival at the hospital after being ambushed early evening of Monday, October 1, by unidentified men while on his way home. He was with his wife, Vice Mayor Wendy Joy Buquing, his driver, and his police bodyguard.
He is the 12th mayor killed under President Rodrigo Duterte, based on police and several media reports collated by Rappler. (GALLERY: Who are mayors, vice mayors killed under Duterte?)
Buquing's death ends his several years of working in the local government.
In 2013, facing term limits, Buquing ran as vice mayor of Sudipen under NPC. He won alongside his wife, Mary Joy, who won the mayoralty position.
Buquing became the local chief executive mayor again when he ran in 2016 under the Liberal Party. His wife went on to become a municipal councilor.
She, however, took over the vice mayor position when Edwin Belisoa, who won in 2016, died in November 2017.
In 2007, Buquing was suspended for 3 months by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged abuse of authority, gross negligence, and betrayal of public trust.
According to a Philippine Star report, the complaint was filed by 4 then-municipal councilors in 2006, accusing their mayor of pursuing projects without proper documents.
The controversy even led to a standoff as supporters and municipal employees alike rallied for Buquing.
The Office of the Ombudsman, however, dismissed complaints in relation to graft and corruption.
The office, however, “held that there exists substantial evidence against the respondent for Simple Misconduct in office,” according to a 2011 letter from the Department of the Interior and Local Government Regional Office.
Buquing is the 12th mayor killed under the Duterte administration. At least 6 vice mayors, meanwhile, have been killed between July 2016 and October 2018.
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.