Philippine police said on Sunday they had arrested three suspects after an attack on Saturday killed local governor Roel Degamo and eight others in the central province of Negros Oriental.
At least six gunmen, armed with rifles and dressed in camouflage uniforms, opened fire Saturday on the property of the governor in Pamplona, a town in the east of the sugar island of Negros. The elected official was killed along with eight other people and seventeen were injured in this latest attack on local politicians.
Two of the three suspects are ex-servicemen dismissed several years ago, according to an army statement. A fourth suspect was killed in an exchange of fire on a plantation on Saturday night, added Gerard Pelare, lieutenant-colonel of police. According to him, a dozen suspects are involved in the shooting who are still on the island, where the ports have been closed to prevent them from fleeing. The previous death toll of six was revised up to nine late on Saturday, police said. Thirteen injured were still hospitalized and four others were treated for minor injuries.
Negros Oriental is one of the two provinces of the island of Negros, the heart of the sugar industry of the Philippines where live very rich landowners but also a population of peasants among the poorest in the country. Backer of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Roel Degamo, 56, is at least the third politician to come under fire since last year’s general election. The Supreme Court had declared him the winner of the election for governor of the province in February after a recount of the votes finally ousted his rival.