Frenchman, family found dead on Philippine tourist island Palawan: Police

MANILA (AFP) - A Frenchman, his Filipina wife and their four-year-old son were found dead inside a pickup truck on the popular Philippine tourist island of Palawan, police said on Thursday (Jan 28).

The French embassy in Manila told AFP it was in contact with the local authorities over the death of Jean Marc Messina, 54, his wife and their son, but the cause of death had yet to be confirmed.

The bodies of Messina, his 25-year-old wife Jewelyn Venturillo, and their son Guiliano, four, were found on Wednesday in a pickup truck on a street in Narra, a small town of 65,000 people on Palawan, Filipino police said.

"A local teacher called up the police about the pickup. We sent a team to the area and they discovered the bodies inside," Palawan provincial police spokesman Inspector Ric Ramos said.

Mr Ramos and the Narra police both told AFP the bodies had been sent to the police laboratory for autopsy and the cause of death was being investigated.

Mr Ramos said the family lived in Puerto Princesa, the provincial capital about 70km north-east of Narra.

Locals told police the truck had been parked in the area for several days before the discovery of the bodies, he added.

Many Westerners live on Palawan, one of the country's major tourist draws and famed for its wildlife, white-sand beaches, scuba diving sites and archaeological sites.

Ms Camille Conde, press attache of the French embassy in Manila, said the local authorities notified its consul over the deaths.

"We're still figuring out what happened to the family," Ms Conde told AFP.