(UPDATE) The Manila city police was ordered on Friday to release the four suspects connected to the killing of Charlie Yuson III, vice mayor of Batuan town, Masbate.
Manila deputy prosecutor Joselito Obejas ordered the release, instructing authorities to further investigate the charges.
The suspects were released 10 p.m., Friday, but police did not mention their whereabouts.
Yuson's family was stunned by the decision.
"Lahat naman na-shock. Kahit sinong abogado 'yung tanungin mo diyan, highly irregular itong nangyari," said Atty. Edward John Marcaida, the family's counsel.
"Siguro nakukulangan sila sa mga ebidensya kahit sandamakmak na yung mga witnesses natin."
Marcaida said Yuson's widow received death threats after the vice mayor's slaying.
Last Wednesday, Yuson was having breakfast with two companions in Sampaloc, Manila, when they were ambushed. The vice mayor died, while the two others were wounded.
The suspects are facing charges of murder and two counts of frustrated murder, which police filed on Friday.
Yuson was the 20th local government official killed since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.
— Reports from Dexter Ganibe, Jeffrey Hernaez and Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News