|Mayor assassinated by gunmen at Manila airport daylight slaughter defeated Aquino ally in May polls
A Philippine mayor of a southern town who was assassinated today at the Manila airport, along with his wife and 18-month old infant, had defeated a political ally of President Benigno Aquino in the mayoral polls.
Ukol Talumpa, who was slain in a daring morning hit by gunmen at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, was a member of the opposition and won a hotly-contested election for mayor of Labangan in May, defeating incumbent Wilson Nandang, who is a political ally of President Aquino.
Talumpa was the former vice mayor of Labangan who successfully challenged the Aquino ally, according Leo Santillan, spokesman for the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur, which includes Labangan.
Santillan told reporters in Pagadian city, the provincial capital, that Talumpa, a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition Party, had flown to Manila earlier in the day with his wife, two nephews and six other people, AFP reports.
At the Manila airport today, 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 shows.
“The mayor and his family and some security escorts were attacked,'' Manila airport general manager Angel Honrado said.
They were slain by at least two men as they stepped out of the passenger terminal shortly after getting off a Cebu Pacific flight from southern Philippines.
Four people were killed and four others wounded in the broad daylight shooting.
Honrado said he could not confirm television news reports quoting unnamed eyewitnesses as saying the two suspects wore police uniforms beneath black jackets.
Airport security forces chased after the gunmen but they got away.
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.
In the footage obtained by GMA, which it said was taken by a bystander, spilled luggage and trolleys lay scattered on the curb on either side of the gunned down man.
Two other people were shown crouching on the curb, while the voices of screaming men and women could be heard.
A taxi cab and four vans, all their doors open, were stopped on the driveway, with the hazard lights of one van still blinking on and off.