Philippine politician injured, 4 aides killed in ambush

Philippine politician injured, 4 aides killed in ambush

MANILA - A member of the Philippines parliament was wounded in an ambush Thursday that left four of his aides dead, he said in a television interview.

Vicente Belmonte Jr. said his two-car convoy was travelling on the national highway from the airport in the southern coastal province of Misamis Oriental when gunmen in a black vehicle fired at them, killing his two drivers and two bodyguards.

The lawmaker told local broadcaster ANC about the incident by phone from his hospital bed shortly after the attack.

He denounced it as "politically motivated", adding that he had recently received threats to his life.

He did not say how badly he had been injured.

Belmonte's office and the police did not respond to requests for comment.

The lawmaker, who is on his third and legally mandated final term, is a relative of one of the nation's most powerful politicians, House of Representatives speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

Political violence, especially at the local levels, is common in the Philippines, with dozens killed every three years during election season.

In the worst act of political violence in the Philippines, 58 people died when members of a warlord clan and their private army allegedly ambushed a convoy's rival in the southern Maguindanao province in 2009.

And in December last year, a town mayor, his wife and two others were killed in a daylight ambush at Manila airport.

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