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Gunmen kill Philippine town councilor, 4 others

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 2:41 p.m. HST, Aug 29, 2010

MANILA, Philippines — About 10 men raked a jeep with gunfire in the central Philippines, killing a town councilor and four companions in a province long notorious for political violence, officials said Sunday.

Councilor Wenceslao Sinagpulo Jr. of Masbate province's San Pascual town, his driver and three other companions died during Saturday afternoon's attack in a mountain pass, regional military spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said.

Sinagpulo was on his way home when he was attacked. His bullet-peppered body was found several meters from the jeep, indicating he managed to run before being felled by gunfire, San Pascual police chief Jose Ramos said.

Cabunoc said the attack could be politically-motivated, citing intense political rivalries and presence of privately-maintained armed groups in Masbate, about 220 miles southeast of Manila.

Investigators have not obtained any evidence that could help identify the gunmen, Ramos said.

The government has deployed more troops to Masbate and other security hotspots to ensure order during the May 10 presidential and local elections.

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