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Two dead in Philippines political shooting

world Updated: Apr 27, 2007 12:32 IST

AFP
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Two people were killed and 10 seriously injured when armed men fired on a convoy of political candidates in the northern Philippines, police said on Friday.

It was the latest and worst outbreak of violence in the run-up to the May 14 mid-term elections which has already claimed at least 20 lives. The convoy, carrying political allies and sons of former mayor Antonio Esquivel, was fired upon in the northern province of Nueva Ecija late on Thursday, resulting in the death of a town council candidate and a police escort.

Also wounded in the attack were 10 other people including three police escorts and Esquivel's two sons, Mark Lawrence and Mark Anthony, the police report said.

The two sons had to be rushed to Manila for emergency surgery after suffering gunshot wounds to the head. The Esquivels immediately blamed a political rival for the attack, saying their group had been ambushed as it returned from a village meeting.

Elections in the Philippines are often marred by violence as rival groups use force to intimidate voters or political opponents.
There were 148 deaths recorded during the presidential elections in 2004 and 111 deaths linked to the congressional and local elections in 2001, police officials have said.

Next months some 45 million voters will elect half the 24 seat Senate, 253 congressmen, and more than 18,000 local, district and provincial officials.