(UPDATE) 12 wounded in Zamboanga bus ambush

By Dyborrhae Jewel M. Reyes, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga

Posted at Jan 17 2010 11:06 AM | Updated as of Jan 18 2010 08:40 AM

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Police are still investigating the motive and the identities of suspects who sprayed gunshots at a public utility bus in Barangay Licomo in Zamboanga City Saturday evening wounding 12 persons.

Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, officer in charge of Zamboanga City police said the bus had 28 bullet holes from M16 rifles and 10 holes from 12 gauge shotguns.

De Ocampo also said among those who were wounded was a government doctor identified as Dr. Carmel Matilda Blanco Ladeza. She was brought to Zamboanga City for medical treatment.

Among those who were also wounded were M. Halasan, driver of the bus and a certain Paking, who was identified as the the bus conductor.

Passengers who were under treatment at a hospital in the municipality of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay province were Cocie Cataluna, Garry Buletic, Leslie and Normana Aportadera, Rey Mendoza, Juanito Teves, Robert and Rosemarie Sinco.

De Ocampo said the bus was traveling along the highway in Licomo, a village of Zamboanga City near Zamboanga Sibugay, when gunmen were seen blocking the way.

The bus driver chose not to stop and instead sped away. The gunmen then peppered the bus with bullets.

The bus was carrying 36 passengers.

The authorities, meanwhile, are studying the possibility that it was a robbery attempt.

The military immediately set up checkpoints along the national highway while the Philippine National Police conducted patrols in the vicinity after the incident.

De Ocampo said the checkpoints are still installed in the area.

The bus was on the way to Pagadian City when the incident happened.