MANILA – Five people, including a municipal councilor, were killed in an attack by unidentified gunmen in San Pascual town in Masbate province Saturday afternoon.

Police identified the fatalities as Wenceslao Sinagpulo Jr., a San Pascual councilor; Jun Jun Aragon, a Baptist pastor; Rael Hermosa Ponte, driver; Nonoy Francisco and Onit Cotales, all residents of San Pascual town.

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A radio report said the victims were ambushed while on board an owner-type jeep around 2 p.m. in the village of Bolod in San Pascual.

All the victims were killed instantly, the report said.

Investigators were still investigating the motive of the ambush.

Saturday's attack came a week after suspected New People's Army rebels killed eight police officers in Catarman town in Northern Samar while they were checking a report that rebels assassinated a local village council member.

The rebels fled with firearms from the slain officers.

The rebels have recently stepped up attacks against soldiers and police in remote areas in a bid to acquire badly needed weapons.

Malacañang has expressed disappointment over the attack and ordered a swift investigation. (Sunnex)