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Ambushed DPWH executive dies of organ failure

- Evelyn Macairan -

MANILA, Philippines - Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary for Luzon Ramon Aquino died yesterday afternoon of multiple organ failure at the Manila Doctors’ Hospital, eight days after he was ambushed in Port Area, Manila.

Manila Doctors’ medical director Dr. Dante Morales said that Aquino, 54, who also serves as the chief of staff of DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, expired at 3:58 p.m. yesterday at the Intensive Care Unit.

Doctors said Aquino died of multi-organ failure with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), hepatic failure, acute renal failure, encephalopathy and coagulopathies secondary to sepsis secondary to peritonitis and pneumonia, after the official suffered multiple gunshot wounds after he was ambushed by two armed suspects near the DPWH compound in Port Area last March 11.

DPWH Undersecretary for Mindanao Romeo Momo said that Aquino was the national president of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE), the biggest group of civil engineers in the country with members numbering about 50,000. Momo is an immediate past national board member of PICE.

“We are saddened by the news. Mon was a very active and effective undersecretary. He is well loved at the PICE. I guess (threats against one’s life) is one of the hazards of the job. Relatives of Usec Aquino are crying but maybe Usec’s wife might have some idea as to her husband’s true situation since she is a doctor,” said Momo.

Aquino is married to Dr. Teresita Obial-Aquino, a specialist in Pulmonology and Bronchoscopy, and they have four daughters – Teresita Angelica, Terese Camille, Terese Monette and Terese Ray-Anne.

Aquino and his bodyguard Tony Cabareta and driver Victor Salonga were on board a black Toyota Fortuner with license plate ZDW-319 when the suspects ambushed them outside the main gate of the DPWH.

Aquino was reportedly on his way to Malacañang to attend a meeting.

Manila police director Chief Superintendent Roberto Rosales said witnesses have identified the suspects in the police photo gallery of wanted suspects, but the new leads have to be validated.

He said the police are still trying to determine if the Aquino murder is linked to the failed assassination of Land Transportation Office National Capital Region assistant director Camilo Guarin.

Superintendent Rogelio Rosales Jr., chief of the Manila police Ermita station, said Task Force Aquino had released four sketches of the suspects that included a woman who allegedly led the attackers. – With Nestor Etolle, Marvin Sy, Christina Mendez

AQUINO

CAMILO GUARIN

CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT ROBERTO ROSALES

CHRISTINA MENDEZ

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS

DR. DANTE MORALES

DR. TERESITA OBIAL-AQUINO

INTENSIVE CARE UNIT

LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION

MANILA DOCTORS

PORT AREA

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