MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – It’s strike 3 for Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Ukol Talumpa, who was shot dead on Friday, December 20, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.
The brazen airport attack by two motorcycle-riding men killed him, his wife Lea, and two others.
Prior to this, Talumpa survived 2 previous attempts to kill him.
In 2010, he sustained multiple wounds when 2 gunmen fired shots at his car in Ermita, Manila. His aide was wounded, but other occupants of the vehicle were unhurt.
In a Philippine Star report, his wife revealed that he began receiving death threats after he won as vice mayor of Labangan that year. He ran as an independent candidate; it was his first try in elections.
During his time as vice mayor, he raised the issue of serious drug abuse in his town, despite having the military’s 1st Infantry Division headquarters there.
The second attack happened in 2012, when 2 men dropped a grenade towards their vehicle in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. Talumpa and his wife were unharmed, but 3 others were wounded in the incident.
In an interview on ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, on Friday, Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio Cerilles described Talumpa as a staunch advocate of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Cerilles said he put his political opponents on the drug list based on reports linking them to the illegal drug trade. He did not name these opponents but said Talumpa defeated them in the last elections.
On Friday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the killing.
“I understand that was the 3rd attempt on the life of the Mayor and this time the culprits succeeded and it’s extremely deplorable that even the wife…[was] also killed,” De Lima added.
Reports say the police looked into possible political or business motives for the assasination attempts.
Talumpa also used to own Rajaam Recruitment and Placement Agency, also in Manila, which operated from 2004 to 2008.
Talumpa was elected mayor in 2013, defeating then reelectionist mayor Kitty Nandang. He ran under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
His town, Labangan, is a 4th class municipality, with 25 barangays and a population of 34,530 as of the 2000 census.
He was also elected this year as Sgt. At Arms of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) for Zamboanga del Sur.
Talumpa and his wife have two children. – Rappler.com