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Violence ahead of Monday’s congressional and local elections in the Philippines has claimed at least four more lives, raising poll-related deaths to 108, officials said. 

Gunmen ambushed the convoy of Salaban Diocolano, a candidate for re-election as mayor of Kabuntalan in southern Maguindanao province, late Friday, killing his driver, regional police commander Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao said.

The driver ran over one of the attackers, killing him, before he died, Goltiao said Saturday. Diocolano was slightly wounded in the attack, he said.

Investigators who went to the scene early on Saturday recovered a homemade bomb meant for Diocolano, Goltiao said. The device was powerful enough to destroy a vehicle and kill its occupants, he said.

Police recovered the slain attacker’s M-16 rifle, but did not know whether he had links to Diocolano’s rival, he said.

In central Masbate province, an armed man who was allegedly distributing money with sample ballots for a mayoral candidate was killed on Friday in cross fire when officers who arrested him were fired upon by unknown gunmen, said acting regional police chief Senior Superintendent Balligi Tira.

In another poll-related clash, one soldier was killed and 13 other security personnel were wounded in a two-hour gunbattle Saturday with communist New People’s Army rebels in a northern province, the military said.

The soldiers and police were responding to reports that the rebels near Bontoc township in Mountain Province were demanding ”permit-to-campaign” fees from candidates when they were attacked by the insurgents. The government has deemed the practice extortion, and vowed to stamp it out.

The military was put on full alert Thursday, followed by police on Friday amid rising violence in the run-up to the May 14 balloting.

A proliferation of unlicensed weapons, politicians’ private armies and intimidation and allegations of cheating spark violence every election in the Philippines. The 2004 presidential election left at least 189 people dead.

Nearly 87,000 candidates are vying for 17,000 national and local positions on Monday. All 265 House of Representatives seats and half of the 24 Senate seats are up for grabs.

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