/

Philippine mayor among four dead in Manila airport ambush

AFP-JIJI

Four people, including the mayor of a southern Philippine town and his wife, were killed Friday in an ambush outside Manila international airport’s passenger terminal.

“The mayor and his family and some security escorts were attacked,” airport general manager Angel Honrado told reporters, adding one of the dead was the mayor of the town of Labangan in the troubled southern region of Mindanao. Ukol Talumpa, a member of the political opposition, won a hotly contested election in May.

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

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

Footage by local television GMA showed a man slumped on the curb of the airport driveway, with two trolleys full of luggage either side of him.

Police are withholding the identities of the other victims pending notification of next of kin, 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 they win.

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.

At the Manila airport Friday, airport security force chased after the gunmen, but the men escaped on a motorcycle in the heavy late-morning traffic outside the terminal, Honrado said.

“This is a very unfortunate incident that did happen 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.