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Manila condemns assassination attempt against governor

(Xinhua)

09:05, August 16, 2011

MANILA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government on Monday strongly condemned the assassination attempt on Maguindanao Governor Esmail Mangudadatu, and said that there are "initial leads" on the case.

"We condemn the attempted assassination of Maguindanao Governor Toto Mangudadatu in the strongest terms," Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

Lacierda said that Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo "has informed us that there are initial leads."

"The ownership of the car that was blown up has been identified. The authorities will pursue all leads with vigor," he said.

Lacierda said that such attempts "can only serve the ends of the enemies of peace, stability and prosperity" in the south.

He also noted that the attack "comes at a time when the Peace Process and efforts to achieve justice for the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre are moving forward."

A car bomb exploded earlier in the day, hitting the convoy of Mangudadatu in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat province, resulting in the death of one and wounding of seven others.

Lt. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero, commander of the military's Eastern Mindanao Command, said the investigations are ongoing to identify the perpetrators but surmised that the attack could be politically- related.

Mangudadatu is a known rival of the Ampatuan political clan, whose key members are detained, facing charges in connection with the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre that left more than 50 people, mostly journalists, dead.

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