Philippine congressman wounded, 3 killed in attack

AP News
Posted: Dec 11, 2014 4:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A congressman from the southern Philippines was slightly wounded in an attack by gunmen Thursday that killed at least two of his bodyguards and a driver, officials said.

Five other bodyguards and aides of Rep. Vicente Belmonte of southern Iligan City were wounded in the ambush in Misamis Oriental province's Laguindingan township, local police chief Brian Inojaldo said.

He said Belmonte's group had just left Laguindingan's airport in two vehicles heading to Iligan when gunmen in a van blocked their path and started shooting.

Belmonte, 60, told ANC television he believes the attack was "politically motivated" but did not identify any suspects. Political rivalries in the Philippines sometimes erupt into violence.

"I have received many threats," he said. "We just don't know who really is the mastermind."

Inojaldo said the gunmen's vehicle was recovered in a nearby village. Villagers told police that they saw at least three men, including one in a military uniform, with rifles leaving the scene in another vehicle.

The congressman suffered only minor wounds in the arm, his Manila office chief Cynthia Desamito said.

In the worst political violence in the country, 58 people, including 32 journalists, were killed allegedly on orders of a political clan in a southern province in 2009.