Philippines mayor, three others killed in ambush at Manila airport

The mayor of a town in the troubled southern Philippines was among four people shot to death in an ambush outside Manila's international airport Friday, authorities reported.

The fatal attack on Ukol Talumpa, mayor of Zamboanga del Sur in the Labangan area of Mindanao, was at least the third attempt on the politician's life in the last three years, raising suspicions that the unknown gunmen were motivated by the region's brutal political conflicts.

Talumpa, his wife Lea, an 18-month-old baby and a staff member were attacked by at least two gunmen shortly after they arrived at the Manila airport from the regional town of Cebu, airport manager Angel Honrado told a news conference at the scene, the Philippine Star reported.

The gunmen fled on a motorbike and escaped into the capital city's dense midday traffic after the ambush, Honrado said.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered a probe by the National Bureau of Investigation, and President Benigno S. Aquino III vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

"We condemn this blatant act of violence that has killed an innocent bystander and imperiled the safety of citizens in the airport," said Herminio Coloma, Jr., head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

De Lima was quoted by the GMA network as saying that the baby killed in the ambush was Talumpa's grandson.

Talumpa won the hotly contested mayor's job in Labangan in May, when more than 60 politicians and their supporters were killed in election violence across the country, the Times of India reported.

Twitter: @cjwilliamslat


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