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Police probe Philippine massacre

MANILA, Sept. 10 -- Police launched an investigation Sunday into the deaths of four members of a family believed massacred by drug addicts whose advances toward a teen-aged daughter were spurned. Chief Supt.

Santiago Alino said police have already recovered a knife, a T-shirt and sweatshirt at the house of the victims in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, 10 miles (16 km) south of Manila. Police said Nancy Payumo, 42 and her children Joanna Rose, 17, Angela, 15, and John Anthony, 18, died of multiple stab wounds Saturday. A fifth victim, 11-year-old Ellen Grace, survived and has been confined in a hospital which was placed under tight security. The victims are believed to have also been hit in their faces and heads by a wooden rifle replica usually used in high school military trainings, police said. The father of the family was not in the house when the massacre happened. Reports said Nancy Payumo and her husband, Angelito, have been separated for several months. Police ruled out robbery as a motive in the killings, noting no money, jewelry or other valuables were missing. A similar case in 1991 became the rallying cry of several groups lobbying for the restoration of the death penalty to crackdown on what many feared was a worsening rate of violent crime. The Philippine Congress restored capital punishment on January 1, 1994, adopting one of the broadest death penalties outside the Muslim world. Alina ordered the Laguna police command to intensify its search for the suspects, believed to be acquaintances of the Payumo daughters. Neighbours said there was a party Friday at the victims' village and several drug addicts present seemed attracted by the daughters. One of the daughters reportedly turned down an invitation from an alleged drug user to dance with her.

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