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Guerillas Kill Mayor In Ambush

December 28, 1988

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Communist rebels killed a town mayor and his policeman driver and wounded five other people in an ambush on the north coast of Mindanao Island, the military said Wednesday.

Another policeman was missing after the attack Tuesday on Mayor Porferio Branzuela along a highway in Plaridel town in Misamis Occidental province, 455 miles southeast of Manila, said military spokesman Maj. Filipino Amoguis.

Amoguis said an undetermined number of New People’s Army guerrillas fired on the police jeep carrying Branzuela, mayor of Calamba town, killing him and his driver, policeman Eddie Torres. Three policemen, a soldier and Branzuela’s civilian bodyguard were wounded.

Calamba, about eight miles southwest of Plaridel, has a population of about 15,000.

The ambush came about eight hours after expiration of a Christmas cease- fire called by the New People’s Army and President Corazon Aquino.

In Zamboanga City, also on Mindanao Island, fire of undetermined origin leveled the entire Moslem-dominated barter trade center, destroying about $1.3 million worth of goods but causing no injuries, officials said Wednesday.

In Manila, the newspaper Malaya quoted witnesses as saying the Tuesday night fire was preceded by two loud explosions, possibly from grenades.

But military and police officials could not confirm the report.

Mindanao Island is wracked with both communist and Moslem rebellions.

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