The mayor of Supiden town in La Union was shot dead yesterday night while traversing in Bangar, a town in the same province.
Mayor Alexander Buquing was on the way home to Supiden aboard a black Toyota Hilux when the ambush happened, Rappler reported.
The same report states that the 50-year-old victim was with his wife, police guard PO2 Rolando Juanbe, driver Boni Depdepen, and Vice Mayor Wendy Joy Buquing.
Buquing was the only one who survived the attack and is currently recovering.
The group was traveling along the Bangar Castro Provincial Road in Barangay (Village) Cadapli when unidentified gunmen aboard a white pick-up truck came close and shot at them at around 6:40pm, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Rappler reported that the mayor and the policeman were rushed by first responders to the Ilocos Sur District Hospital in nearby Tagudin town where they were declared dead on arrival.
The vice mayor and the driver were meanwhile carried by ambulance to the Lorma Medical Center in San Fernando City, where the driver was declared dead on arrival.
Bangar police head Chief Inspector Cirilo Butigan told Rappler that not all victims were rushed to the Ilocos Sur District Hospital as the first responders could only carry two, and the mayor and police officer needed the urgent medical treatment.
The motive behind the killing is still unclear, ABS-CBN News reported. A special investigation task group has been created to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.
CNN Philippines reported that Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde has urged the public to provide any information that may lead to the suspects.
The mayor is the 17th elected official killed under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. 11 mayors and 6 vice mayors have died since he took office, some of whom were linked to the illegal drug trade.