Former mayor among 3 killed at a Philippines university graduation ceremony

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh with agency report

A gunman opened fire in a university campus in the Philippine capital region ahead of a graduation ceremony on Sunday.

Three people were killed in the brazen attack, including the former mayor of Lamitan City, Rose Furigay. The suspect, who was armed with two pistols, was wounded in a shootout with a campus security officer and arrested after a car chase. He is now in custody and being interrogated.

The Ateneo de Manila University in suburban Quezon city university was swiftly put under lock down and the graduation was also cancelled after the shooting.

Local Quezon City police chief Remus Medina said the shooting appeared to have been an assassination of the former mayor.

“He looks like he was a determined assassin,” Medina said.

Furigay was shot as she was about to attend the graduation of her daughter at the law school of Ateneo de Manila University, one of the country’s most prestigious, Medina added.

The two others killed were a campus security officer and an unidentified male, the police said.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, who was supposed to be a speaker at the ceremony, was advised to turn back en route to the event. Newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. promised to have the attack swiftly investigated and those behind the killings brought to justice.

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He is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress at the House of Representatives on Monday in Quezon city, where police and other law enforcers had imposed a gun ban and heightened security before the shooting.

“We are shocked and saddened by the events at the Ateneo graduation today,” Marcos Jr. said. “We mourn with the bereaved, the wounded and those whose scars from this experience will run deep.” Quezon is part of the Manila capital region, an urban sprawl of 16 cities home to more than 13 million people.

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

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