Iligan congressman hurt, 3 bodyguards killed in ambush PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 12 December 2014 11:47

A congressman from Iligan City narrowly escaped death, while his three security escorts were killed in an ambush in Misamis Oriental province Thursday afternoon.

House Representative  Vicente “Barf” Belmonte of Lanao Del Norte province was slightly wounded in the ambush staged by gunmen in Laguindingan town, Misamis Oriental.

Initial police investigation disclosed that Belmonte was on his way to the highway from the Laguindingan Airport when gunmen blocked their path. The congressman’s vehicle was then leading a convoy.

One of Belmonte’s bodyguards was killed on the spot, while two others of the six who were wounded, died in a nearby provincial hospital in Alubijid, a neighboring town of Laguindingan.

Police said Belmonte was reportedly among the six who were brought to the Alubijid hospital. The names of the wounded and the fatalities were not immediately available.

Belmonte was on board the lead vehicle, a black Ford with Plate Number 8, acccording to the police investigation.

Responding policemen  recovered a black pick-up Mazda, apparently the back up vehicle, which was peppered with bullets, in the ambush site.

Beside the pick-up was the unidentified body of Belmonte’s bodyguard who was killed on the spot, police said.

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.”

Police 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.

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.