Labangan town Mayor Ukol Talumpa and his wife Leah were buried on Saturday in their hometown in Zamboanga del Sur province in Mindanao.
The couple and two others were killed in a daring ambush at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) early on Friday. The mayor and his wife were immediately buried side by side in accordance with Islamic tradition.
Assassins disguised as policemen attacked Talumpa’s group outside the busy airport. Police said four other persons were injured in the attack.
Talumpa, a member of the Nacionalista Party, was also attacked in September last year in Pagadian City when an unidentified man lobbed a grenade on the mayor’s convoy, injuring his police escort. And in 2010, the politician and his niece were injured in an attack by suspected hired killers in Manila.
In his last Facebook page post, Talumpa greeted his constituents “Assalamo alaykom Labangan.”
Another post showed the politician embracing his wife, Leah, and has this written: “Napakasarap sabihin na pinagpala ako ni Allah dahil kahit nahihirapan ako sa kabila ng pagsubok at unos na nararanasan ko ay may isang taong laging nasa tabi ko nag aalaga, nagmamalasakit at nag aaruga sa akin. iloveyouMAMA.”
Another photo showed the couple during Talumpa’s oath taking as mayor in Labangan town.
The airport attack prompted Malacanang to intensify police presence in public places.
Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said an investigation into the mayor’s killing is ongoing.
“The new NCRPO Chief has been directed to heighten police visibility, especially during the Christmas season. We expect them to keep that up. This is a cause for serious concern because it happened within airport premises,” Valte said.
The Palace likewise urged the installation of CCTV cameras at NAIA. Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify security operations on vital installations, transport terminals, malls and places of convergence especially during the holiday season.
“The investigation is ongoing. We need to find out the results of the investigation first before we call out who had lapses. What is important is for the authorities to do their job well and for us to ensure that they are protecting us well,” she added.
On the other hand, Philippine National Police spokesman Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor said that the Aviation Security Group, the National Capital Regional Police Office (Ncrpo), and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is investigating the airport attack.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) condemned Talumpa’s killing.
“We extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathies to his family, especially to the people of Labangan, Zamboanga Del Sur, for a great loss. He has been known to us as a member of good moral standing and character,” the party said in a statement.
with report Llanesca T. Panti