Philip­pine mayor, wife shot dead at Manila air­port

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - AFP—AP

Gun­men opened fire out­side Manila in­ter­na­tional air­port on Fri­day, of­fi­cials said, killing four peo­ple in­clud­ing the mayor of a town in the south­ern Philip­pines where po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence is en­demic.

Ter­ri­fied men and women screamed and cried while a man, ap­par­ently fa­tally wounded, lay face down on the pave­ment out­side the pas­sen­ger ter­mi­nal, a video clip up­loaded to the lo­cal GMA tele­vi­sion net­work’s web­site showed.

“The mayor and his fam­ily and some se­cu­rity es­corts were attacked,” Manila air­port gen­eral man­ager An­gel Hon­rado told re­porters, adding that one of the dead was the mayor of La­ban­gan, a town in the trou­bled south­ern re­gion of Min­danao.

Ukol Talumpa, a mem­ber of the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion, won a hotly con­tested elec­tion for mayor of La­ban­gan in last May’s elec­tions, de­feat­ing the in­cum­bent, who is a po­lit­i­cal ally of Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino.

The of­fi­cial, his wife, other mem­bers of his fam­ily and their body­guards were tar­geted by at least two men as they stepped out of the pas­sen­ger ter­mi­nal shortly af­ter get­ting off a flight from the south­ern Philip­pines, Hon­rado said.

Four peo­ple were killed and four oth­ers wounded in the day­light shoot­ing, he said, adding that “the mayor and his wife” were among the dead.

He said he could not con­firm tele­vi­sion news re­ports quot­ing un­named eye­wit­nesses as say­ing the two sus­pects were wear­ing po­lice uni­forms.

Air­port se­cu­rity forces chased af­ter the gun­men but they es­caped on a mo­tor­cy­cle in the heavy late-morn­ing traf­fic out­side the ter­mi­nal, he added.

Hon­rado, speak­ing along­side Manila po­lice of­fi­cials at a news con­fer­ence, said the au­thor­i­ties did not know the iden­tity of the gun­men nor the mo­tive for the at­tack.

The Philip­pines is in­fa­mous for a bru­tal brand of democ­racy where politi­cians — par­tic­u­larly at lo­cal and pro­vin­cial lev­els — are will­ing to bribe, in­tim­i­date or kill to en­sure vic­tory. More than 60 peo­ple were killed in last May’s elec­tions, when 18,000 posts from pro­vin­cial gov­er­nor to town and city may­ors as well as city and town ex­ec­u­tive coun­cils were con­tested.

In the footage ob­tained by GMA, spilled lug­gage and trol­leys lay scat­tered on the curb on both sides of a man’s body.

Two other peo­ple were shown crouching on the curb, while the voices of scream­ing men and women could be heard.

A taxi and four vans, all their doors open, were stopped on the drive­way, with the hazard lights of one van still blink­ing on and off.

Po­lice are with­hold­ing the iden­ti­ties of the other vic­tims pend­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tion of next of kin, Hon­rado said.

“This is a very un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent that hap­pened at Ter­mi­nal 3,” Hon­rado said.

“Gov­ern­ment agen­cies are try­ing their best to de­ter­mine the per­pe­tra­tors and bring them to jus­tice.”

He ap­pealed to other pas­sen­gers who wit­nessed the shoot­ing to help the po­lice iden­tify the sus­pects.

Talumpa was the for­mer deputy mayor of La­ban­gan who suc­cess­fully chal­lenged Aquino ally and in­cum­bent Wil­son Nan­dang for the mayoral post in the last elec­tion, ac­cord­ing to Leo San­til­lan, spokesman for the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment of Zam­boanga del Sur, which in­cludes La­ban­gan.

Ukol Talumpa, mayor of La­ban­gan

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.