MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Gunmen wounded the head of the Presidential Anti-Gambling Task Force and killed two security guards Sunday in a pre-dawn raid on his heavily guarded home in suburban Manila, officials said.
Elsewhere, gunmen killed three candidates running in the Jan. 18 local elections, raising to 21 the number slain since campaigning began last month.
Also over the weekend, a local party leader was reported hacked to death with a sickle, and six people were killed in fighting with Communist rebels on Mindanao island, officials said.
The anti-gambling official, Potenciano Roque, was shot in the left elbow in Sunday’s attack, which authorities quoted witnesses as saying occurred about 3:30 a.m. at his residential compound in suburban Antipolo.
Killed were guards Alexander Avelino and Celso Marcos, said the authorities, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Roque’s mother, Eusebia, told The Associated Press her son underwent surgery on his shattered elbow.
Details of the shooting remained sketchy late Sunday.
The task force Roque heads imposed a news blackout on the assault. Guards barred reporters from the compound and refused to answer questions. Local police said even they were initially barred from the compound.
Police said they had about five suspects but would not elaborate.
Witnesses told reporters the assailants fired automatic weapons, then fled on foot down the compound’s grassy slopes.
One report said Roque was giving instructions to guards at the gate when he was shot. Police speculated the assailants could have been members of Roque’s security force.
The government operates a lottery and casinos in Manila. Roque’s task force is charged with uncovering corruption or any other crime within or related to those operations.
Assailants shot mayoral candidate Rodrigo Chua, 40, as he campaigned door- to-door Sunday in the Sipio area of Sipalay, about 400 miles south of Manila, relatives said.
They said his killers told Chua, ″So you’re running again,″ before shooting him in the chest.
Chua was mayor of the copper-mining town of Sipalay for three terms until February 1986, when President Corazon Aquino took power in a military-civilian uprising and replaced all local officials.
In Bacolod, 100 miles to the north, party leader Manuel Casibe was hacked to death with a sickle Sunday night, a radio report said. It did not identify his party or give other details.
On Mindanao, police said a lone gunman on Saturday killed Inocencio Feras, 55, opposition mayoral candidate in Roxas, 450 miles south of Manila. Feras, a former mayor of Roxas, was a candidate of the rightist New Society Movement.
Gunmen killed Gabriel Hinolan as he sat on a podium Saturday night waiting to address a rally in Escalante on Negros island. He was a pro-administration candidate for town council.
Voters will choose provincial governors, mayors, council members and other local officials in this month’s election.
Brig. Gen. Lorenzo Rapanan, commander of the 9th Philippines Constabulary in Zamboanga City, meanwhile said communist attacks Saturday on Mindanao left five civilians and one rebel dead.
Rebels overran a village defense post near Dinas in Zamboanga del Sur province, Rapanan told reporters. One guerrilla was killed in the hourlong battle before militia units from two nearby villages arrived and the rebels fled, he said.
In neighboring Zamboanga del Norte province, rebels shot dead a militiaman and his civilian companion Saturday in Matia village near San Miguel.
Rebels also killed three farmers in the area Saturday, Rapanan said.