Gunmen shoot dead Philippines provincial governor, 5 others

A provincial governor and five other people in the central Philippines were shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Saturday, his widow said, in the latest attack against local officials.

Local police said six suspects dressed in uniforms worn by the armed forces and armed with rifles entered the governor’s home in the city of Pamplona and opened fire.

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His widow said that the governor of Negros Oriental province, Roel Degamo, and five others were shot dead.

Janice DeGamo, who is also Pamplona’s mayor, said in a video posted to Facebook, “Governor DeGamo didn’t deserve that kind of death. He was serving his constituencies on Saturday.”

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President Ferdinand Marcos condemned what he described as the “assassination” of his political ally and warned the perpetrators that “surrender is now your best option”.

Marcos said, “My government will not rest until we bring the perpetrators of this heinous and heinous crime to justice.”

The condition of four other people killed in the incident could not be disclosed.

Provincial police spokesman Kim Lopez told AFP the leader was distributing aid to voters when he was shot.

Police said they were searching for 10 suspects, including the six gunmen, who fled the scene in two SUVs and a pickup truck before abandoning the vehicles in a nearby town.

Marcos Ally

Dagamo, 56, is the latest target in a long history of attacks on politicians in the Philippines, and at least the third to have been shot since last year’s local elections.

The Supreme Court last month declared him the rightful winner of the contest for the Negros Oriental governorship, superseding his local rival who had previously been declared the winner.

Degamo also campaigned for Marcos in his candidacy for the presidency last year.

Mamintal Adiong, the governor of the southern province of Lanao del Sur, was shot and wounded in February in an attack that killed his driver and three police escorts.

In the same month, Rommel Almeida, the vice-mayor of the northern city of Apri, and five others traveling with him were shot in a highway ambush.

In the bloodiest politically motivated ambush on record, leaders of a powerful southern clan and about two dozen followers were sentenced to life in prison for attacking supporters of a gubernatorial election rival in Maguindanao province in 2009.

The attack killed 58 people, including the politician’s wife and relatives, as well as 32 journalists and media personnel who were covering the race.

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