A northern Philippines town mayor who was once abducted by communist guerrillas was shot dead in a Christmas Day ambush on Tuesday, police said.
Unknown gunmen killed Caesar Rafael, the mayor of Paracelis, as he drove on the outskirts of the town, provincial police spokesman Inspector Ruel Tagel said.
The motive for the attack was not known, he added. No group has claimed responsibility.
Police said Rafael, a political ally of Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, was briefly abducted in the 1980s by communist New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas, who branded him a political "warlord."
He was later freed unharmed.
The 6,000-member NPA, which is active in certain areas of the Cordillera mountain range where Paracelis is situated, were observing a unilateral Christmas truce when the mayor was ambushed.
Meanwhile, at least seven people were wounded, some badly, when an explosion rocked a lawmaker's house in the northern Philippines in what may have been a fireworks accident or an attack by a political rival, police said yesterday.
Among those wounded in the blast were three sons of House Representative Cecille Luna who had gathered Luna's home in Abra Province's capital Bangued late on Tuesday for the Christmas Day holiday, police Senior Superintendent Alexander Pumecha said.
The sons were hospitalized in Manila, Pumecha said.
Pumecha, Abra's police chief, said investigators have not determined what caused the blast.
"It might be politics," he said, adding it was also possible that firecrackers accidentally exploded.
Luna won a tightly contested race against then governor Vicente Valera, whose family has been in power in the province for three decades.
Warlords with private armies are known to operate there and the local politics have a history of violence.
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