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Philippine mayor, family killed at airport

By Mynardo Macaraig

MANILA, AFP

Gunmen opened fire outside Manila international airport 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 in a video clip uploaded to the local GMA television network's website.

The dead included Mayor Ukol Talumpa of the southern town of Labangan, his wife, his 18-month-old grandson and a male aide, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters.

“I understand that was the third attempt on the life of the mayor and this time the culprits succeeded,” de Lima said.

“It's extremely deplorable that even the wife, grandson and a staff (assistant) were also killed.”

An airport policeman, who asked not to be named, told AFP that he was on duty about 10 meters away when the mayor and his party were attacked.

“I heard gunshots so I whipped out my pistol and ran to the area. But the gunman had fled. He had an accomplice on a motorcycle,” said the officer.

“People were shocked and just stood there so I could not shoot,” he added.

“We tried to chase them in a police van but got caught up in the traffic,” he said, adding the gunman was wearing a police cap and a blue jacket.

Brutal Brand of Democracy

Talumpa, an opposition leader who was the town's former vice mayor, defeated the incumbent mayor who was a political ally of President Benigno Aquino in the May 2013 elections .

He had previously survived a grenade attack that injured a police bodyguard in the troubled southern region of Mindanao in September of last year, and also escaped an assassination attempt in Manila in 2010, provincial officials said.

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 Philippine military frees tourist from gunmen 
Policemen inspect the crime scene after gunmen opened fire outside the Manila International Airport in Manila on Friday, Dec. 20. 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. (AFP)

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