Was woman Army officer found dead in Camp Boni pregnant?

- by Jose Aravilla and Paolo Romero () - February 14, 2001 - 12:00am
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has began looking into reports that Army Second Lt. Jessica Chavez, whose body was found with a fatal gunshot wound inside her quarters in Fort Bonifacio, Makati may have been pregnant at the time of her death.

This, as NBI director Reynaldo Wycoco directed his Special Action Unit under lawyer Edmund Arugay to pour in all their resources in investigating the death of Chavez, 22, who was found dead Friday morning with a gunshot would in her chest. The police’s initial finding is that Chavez committed suicide.

Chavez’s father, Efren, 42, earlier asked the NBI to probe his daughter’s death as he expressed dismay over investigations being conducted by the police and Army.

Sources at the NBI-SAU said one of the leads provided by the Chavez family was the rumor that Jessica was pregnant. "There are many possibilities we are pursuing; some which points to murder; but at this point they are hearsay until we are able to find evidence," said an NBI investigator.

Prior to Jessica’s death, Efren reported talking to his daughter who told him that she was wanted to leave the military. The only explanation the younger Chavez provided was that she was "not happy" being in the service.

Jessica belonged to the year 2000 Sanghaya class of the Philippine Military Academy. At the time of her death, she was assigned to the 191st military police (MP) battalion based in Fort Santiago.

According to the victim’s mother, Milwida, her daughter regularly communicated with her through text messages and said there was no indication that Jessica would commit suicide.

"I know my daughter, she is a jolly person and she even once told me before that after what she’d gone through the PMA (Philippine Military Academy), she cannot just give in to the pressures of her job," Chavez told The STAR.

The mother said the last time she spoke with her daughter was about a week before her death and the conversation was followed by regular text messages.

Chavez, who is a barangay captain in Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur, said Jessica had complained of the heavy workload and lack of sleep. "But that’s (workload) is not a reason for her to kill herself," Chavez said. "We want to get to the truth, but the problem is the investigation appears to be moving too slowly."

When asked whether the death could be a "crime of passion," Chavez said Jessica’s boyfriend is a lieutenant assigned in Mindanao.

Jessica’s superior officer, Maj. Ramon Dizon said the victim looked fine and even joked when they met the night before she died.

"I saw her still working at her computer and I told her to rest and continue her work the next day," Dizon told The STAR.

The body of Jessica was found about 7 a.m. with her caliber .45 service pistol on the floor with another pistol, belonging to her roommate, found in the room.

The bullet slug was found imbedded on the door of her room.

"We are determining if Jessica was left-handed to explain the location of the gun. We may have a reenactment at the site," said one prober.

At the moment, the NBI is questioning four persons, including Fort Bonifacio military policemen themselves, who were among the first to reach the crime scene.

The body of Jessica has been brought back to her home province in Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur for burial.

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