Three killed in Philippines university shooting during graduation

A victim's body is removed from the scene of a shooting at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon city, Philippines [Aaron Favila/AP Photo]

Official says the attack appears to be an assassination since a former mayor of Lamitan town is among the dead.

At least three people, including a former mayor of a southern Philippine town, have been killed in an attack on a college campus in the country’s capital region that a police official called an apparent assassination.

The attacker opened fire on Sunday at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City as law students and their families gathered for a graduation ceremony.

Those killed included Rosita Furigay, a former mayor of Lamitan town on the southern Basilan Island. Her aide and a university guard were also among the dead, officials said.

“He looks like he was a determined assassin,” Quezon city police chief Remus Medina told reporters about the attacker, who was identified as a resident of Lamitan city.

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Medina said the man, whose name was not immediately released, was wounded in a shoot-out with a campus security officer and was arrested after a car chase following the attack.

The motive behind the apparent assassination was not immediately clear.

Lamitan is considered a stronghold of the ISIL (ISIS)-linked Abu Sayyaf Group, which has for decades fought against the Philippine government, committed kidnappings and targeted local officials.

Furigay’s daughter, who was supposed to attend the graduation ceremony, was also wounded in the attack and taken to a hospital, a police report said.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, who was meant to speak at the ceremony, was en route to the college at the time of the shooting but was turned back.

Quezon City is one of the 16 cities that make up Metropolitan Manila, the official seat of the Philippine government. It is home to the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

A bullet is marked by a police investigator at the scene in front of the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon city [Aaron Favila/AP Photo]

“This kind of incident has no place in our society and must be condemned to the highest level,” Quezon city Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement.

The shooting happened despite heavy security and a gun ban imposed by police and other government forces in Quezon city, where newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr is set to deliver his first state of the nation address on Monday before a joint session of Congress at the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Marcos Jr assured a swift investigation.

“We commit our law enforcement agencies to thoroughly and swiftly investigate these killings and bring all involved to justice,” he said.



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