Gunmen killed at least 21 people in the southern Philippines on Monday, apparently to prevent a woman from filing her husband's nomination to run for provincial governor in May next year, the military said.
Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner said the bodies of 13 women and eight men were found in the area where about 30 people were taken hostage, informs Reuters.
"Our army troopers have reached the area where the vehicles and those held were taken... they were shot by the armed men," regional military chief Major General Alfredo Cayton said in a radio interview.
"We have recovered 21 bodies. Our men are continuing to scour the area to find the others."
Cayton said he could not yet confirm who carried out the killings.
But armed forces spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner said earlier that gunmen linked to a powerful politician had seized 40 people, including his political rivals and 20 local journalists, AFP informs.
According to BBC News, the military say that the group was seized on the southern island of Mindanao early on Monday morning.
The group of 21 local politicians and journalists were trying to file a nomination for a candidate in the forthcoming Philippine elections when they were abducted this morning, according to local military reports.
They were found dead later in the day, say the army.
National elections in the Philippines are due to take place in May 2010 with registration for both local and national candidates opening earlier this month.