World

2 Australians and a Filipina killed in Philippine hotel, officials say

TAGAYTAY, Philippines — (AP) — Two Australian nationals and their Filipina companion were killed in a hotel in a popular resort city south of the Philippine capital and police were trying to identify and track down the suspects, officials said Thursday.

A hotel worker found the bodies of the victims, whose hands and feet were tied, in a room at the Lake Hotel in Tagaytay city, south of Manila, on Wednesday, according to a police statement.

The motive for the killings was not immediately clear, Tagaytay police chief Charles Daven Capagcuan told The Associated Press, adding that some valuables of the victims, including their cellphones, were not taken by the suspect.

“We were shocked by this incident,” Tagaytay Mayor Abraham Tolentino said, apologizing to the families of the victims. “We’re very sorry to our Australian friends. We will resolve this as soon as possible.”

The victims were believed to be a man in his 50s from Australia, his Philippine-born partner, who had acquired Australian citizenship, and her Filipina relative.

Investigators were interviewing witnesses and examining security cameras at the hotel, including one footage that showed a man wearing a mask and a hoodie and carrying a sling bag who walked out of the victims' room a few hours before their bodies were discovered, Capagcuan said.

A Filipino relative of the Australian woman told the AP that the Australian couple flew from Sydney to the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a vacation then headed to the Philippines Monday to visit her two children from a previous marriage in the country.

The Australian couple was supposed to fly back to Australia Wednesday, the day they were killed, but decided to briefly take a vacation in Tagaytay, said the Filipino son of the slain Australian-Filipino woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was fearful after what happened to her mother and given the suspect remained at large.

Tagaytay, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Manila, is popular among local and foreign tourists who flock there for its cool weather and to view one of the world's smallest active volcanos nestled in the middle of a lake.

Tolentino told the AP that the remains of the Australian man would be flown back to Sydney and the two women would be buried in the Philippines as requested by their relatives. The government would pay for the women's funeral and burial, he said.

In Australia, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it’s providing consular assistance to the families of the two Australians and expressed condolences to their families. No other details were provided “owing to our privacy obligations,” the spokesperson said.

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Associated Press journalists Aaron Favila and Joeal Calupitan contributed to this report.

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