Police say gunmen shot dead seven people in a house east of the Philippine capital in what may be linked to illegal drugs.

Rodriquez town police chief Donato Bait said Monday the house owner, his wife and five other people bore gunshot wounds to the head.

He said the owner had been previously jailed for drug-linked offenses.

Bait said the gunmen barged into the house around 1 a.m. but spared the couple's two children aged 10 and 13. They were taken into protective custody.

Drug-related violence is not uncommon, and authorities say they are taking measures to curb crime.