A family photo snapped by a Filipino councilman moments before he was shot dead has led the police to arrest the suspected killer and his accomplices.

Reynaldo Dagsa, 35, from the Manila suburb of Caloocan City was taking pictures of his wife, daughter and mother-in-law after the New Year's revelry when Arnel Buenaflor, a member of the dreaded group of robbers, called Pasaway Gang, emerged from behind a parked car and shot Dasga point-blank at his right forearm and at the chest.

A second alleged gunman fired a shot from behind Dagsa but missed him.

Dagsa was immediately was rushed to a nearby hospital in Manila but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

However, Buenaflor could not get away with the murder as Dagsa's family found that the killer was captured in the photo.

According to police chief Jude Santos, it was not a difficult task for the police to hunt down and arrest Buenaflor, as the photo Dagsa took clearly showed the killer with the gun aimed at him.

Also arrested were Michael Gonzalez (alias Michael Rollon) and Frederick Sales. Sales was also captured in the photo and is believed to have been the killer's lookout.

The police are now hunting for four others involved in the murder - Rommel Oliva, Francis Bumjal and two others who have not been named.

Santos said all the three arrested men have criminal records ranging from robbery-holdup to murder.

The police said Dagsa was targeted as he was a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team, a group that aggressively sought to reduce crime in the region.

Most recently, Dagsa had sought the arrest of Gonzales for illegal possession of firearms, robbery and homicide.

Two months back, the councilman had also filed a complaint in the Caloocan City Prosecutor's Office against Buenaflor and Gonzales, for attempted murder.

According to Dagsa's wife Arlene, he had his .45-caliber pistol at that time of the incident. However, fearing the safety of his family, he opted not to use it.

He must have thought the assassin would hurt his family or his relatives, or anybody in the area so he did not do anything that would compromise our safety. He took the bullet instead, the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Arlene as saying.

Buenaflor, who was arrested on Thursday, has admitted killing Dagsa but said he had no regrets as they were determined in eliminating the councilman, who had the reputation of being tough on crime.