New Philippine town mayor and vice assassinated

The newly elected mayor and vice mayor of a northern Philippine town were killed by unidentified gunmen as they watched a cockfight, police said Saturday. Alfredo Vendivil Sr., elected mayor of San Jose in Nueva Ecija province, and his cousin and vice mayor Virgilio Vendivil Sr., were shot around midnight Friday inside a cockfight arena, regional police director Chief Superintendent Ismael Rafanan said. At least seven other people, including a nine-year-old boy, were wounded. The gunmen walked casually out of the arena as the crowd fled in panic, Rafanan said. "The assassins posed as cockfight aficionados and attacked the victims who were unarmed and without any security personnel," he said. The new mayor, a former provincial board member, was popular but low-key, often going around town in slippers, he said, adding that he has created a task force dedicated to investigating the attack. The two officials were elected in the May 14 congressional and local polls and were to take office on June 30.