North Cotabato mayor who survived slay attempt in 2019, driver shot dead

January 12, 2021

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines (Updated 4:09 p.m.) — Gunmen killed the mayor of Libungan town and his driver in a daring attack Monday, just few months after a gunman tried but failed to kill him with an M16 assault rifle.

Mayor Christopher Cuan and his driver, Taweng Ihao, died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds.

Cuan was inspecting a cockpit he was constructing in Barangay Cabaruyan, Libungan when gunmen on motorcycles arrived and shot at him with pistols, killing him and his driver on the spot.

Police Col. Henry Villar, North Cotabato police director, said personnel of the Libungan municipal police will do their best to identify the culprits.

A shooter on board a van shot Cuan from a distance but missed in an attack in January last year that left one of his staff wounded.

2016 arrest

Cuan had been included in President Rodrigo Duterte's "narco-list." In response, barangay officials from Libungan issued resolutions saying the mayor was not involved in the drug trade.

Cuan was arrested in October 2016 by anti-narcotics operatives after they served a search warrant on his home, according to a report by Notre Dame Broadcasting Corp., which has a radio station in North Cotabato.

NDBC reported that although the police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency personnel recovered guns and ammunition in the raid, "Cuan was not among the politicians named by President Duterte in his August announcement of alleged narco-politicians."

News reports on Monday said Cuan had been on Duterte's narco-list, versions of which were officially released to the public in 2016, 2018 and 2019. 

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