Iligan lawmaker hurt, 4 killed in ambush
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – A lawmaker was hurt while 4 of his men were killed in an ambush just a few meters away from the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental on Thursday afternoon, December 11.
Iligan lone district Representative Vicente Belmonte and his team were already en route to Iligan City from the airport when they were attacked by unidentified armed men at around 1:30 pm, initial reports said.
Belmonte was hurt in the incident while 4 of his men – his driver, the driver of his back-up vehicle, and two police escorts – were killed after sustaining gunshot wounds.
Responding security forces immediately secured the site while police authorities are now conducting an investigation to identify the perpetrators and the motive behind the attack.
Belmonte is nursing wounds but is now safe, his staff in the House of Representatives said. Belmonte was able to grant a TV interview shortly after the incident.
Belmonte said in an interview on ANC that he believes the incident was "politically motivated."
Belmonte is the chairman of the committee on dangerous drugs in the House of Representatives.
The House leadership condemned the incident. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr issued this statement to the media hours after the incident:
"My colleagues and I at the House of Representatives condemn the attempt on the life of fellow legislator Vicente F. Belmonte, Jr. of Iligan City, that resulted in the senseless death of four individuals. We call on authorities to immediately investigate the incident and bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous act. We are only grateful that Varf’s life has been spared and wish him a speedy recovery as we join his family and the families of the four victims in the quest for justice."
In a statement, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the department "does not tolerate such acts."
"The secretary has already initiated talks to ensure that appropriate actions will be taken," the DILG added. – with reports from Angela Casauay/Rappler.com