Cebu News

Before commiting suicide patient shoots doc

Ria Mae Y. Booc, Mylen P. Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A former seaman shot dead his physician before turning the gun on himself inside the latter's clinic at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Barangay Sambag 2, Cebu City, around 9:45 a.m. yesterday.

Wilfredo Sabonsolin, 72, of Maria Theresa 2, Barangay Guadalupe, was scheduled for his regular check up when he gunned down Dr. Cris Cecil Chan Abbu, 56, an orthopedic surgeon and a resident of Sitio Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe.

Abbu was rushed to the emergency room of the hospital due to gunshot wounds in his right arm and chest but he was declared dead at 10:30 a.m. Attending physicians James Guardiaro and Ferdinand Kionisala said the shot fired at Abbu's chest hit his heart.

Sabonsolin shot himself in his left temple with the slug exiting from the right temple.

He was killed on the spot, slumping back against the wheelchair he used to enter the clinic.

Check up

Prior to the incident, Sabonsolin and his helper Renel Tanilon, 29, from Negros Province, arrived around 9:30 a.m. for Sabonsolin's regular check up at the clinic which was located at the ground floor and adjacent to the hospital building.

Tanilon, who had been Sabonsolin's helper for five years, said he was sitting at the lounge of the Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Room when Sabonsolin was interviewed by Abbu.

"Gi-kumusta pa siya (Sabonsolin) unya tubag pud siya nga di pa kalakaw unya giingnan siya sa doctor nga madala na kuno og therapy, mao na dayon to gipusil na ang doctor… kalit kaayo ang hitabo," Tanilon said.

Tanilon even asked Sabonsolin why he shot Abbu but the suspect committed suicide instead of answering Tanilon.

Chief Insp. Wildemar Tiu, Fuente Police Station chief, said Sabonsolin's first shots misfired because police later found two rounds on the floor.

"Pagkasa niya sa unang pagpusil tingali mao ning duha ka bala natagak kay nag-malfunction ang firearm… ikaduha na mao ning nakabuto na igo sa doctor unya ang bala nga miigo sa iyaha miigo pa sad sa kisame sa clinic," Tiu said.

Police recovered three empty shells from the crime scene and the pistol used by Sabonsolin.

Sabonsolin was suffering from a spinal column injury and had been Abbu's patient since 2010. He just underwent an operation last December, his fourth one to date. The last two were reportedly performed free by Abbu.

"Di nato ma-discount nga depression ang hinungdan unya the doctor told him nga duna kuno'y tendency nga di na siya kalakaw… but we are still investigating this to determine the real motive," Tiu said.


Police Regional Office-7 Regional Director for Operations Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa has yet to determine if the hospital had lapses in implementing security measures as Sabonsolin was able to bring a gun inside the hospital.

Sabonsolin reportedly hid his gun in his sling bag that security guards failed to check.

"We cannot say there were lapses until the SOCO (Scene of the Crime Operatives) gathered all evidence but even though the victim was in a wheelchair he was still capable of moving," Capa said.

Police said they will investigate the security guard who checked Sabonsolin when he entered the hospital.  Ryan Aznar, property custodian and athletic director of the hospital, said they did not expect that Sabonsolin was armed at that time considering his condition.

Sabonsolin came on board a taxicab and was inspected at the main gate of the hospital.

"We are strict in terms of security but Sabonsolin as I know was a regular patient in the hospital and familiar na siya sa mga guards… but this is an isolated case," Aznar said.

Aznar described Abbu as a good doctor who was willing to give free operations and services to indigenous patients. Abbu graduated from the Southwestern University and had been a resident doctor at the hospital for almost 20 years.

The cadaver of Sabonsolin was taken to St. Peter Funeral Homes, his family has refused to give any statement.

Official statement

Lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna, legal counsel of SWU Inc. said the Sacred Heart Hospital and SWU Inc. are saddened by the event.

He assured the university and the hospital will assess and come up with a viable plan to protect the students, teachers, patients and especially the doctors.

When asked if the university and the hospital will give financial aid to the family of Abbu, Dela Cerna said this will be taken into account after the assessment.

In an official statement, SWU said the university is one with the family of Abbu, in mourning his untimely loss.

"Dr. Abbu, 56, married to Dr. Amelia Escobar Abbu, is a true-blue Southwesterner having completed his Doctor of Medicine and Bachelor of Laws in SWU. His commitment to his Alma Mater is best expressed in his conscientious and humanistic practice of Medicine. His tragic demise will never erase his valuable contributions as an outstanding orthopedic surgeon in Sacred Heart Hospital and a faculty member of the College of Medicine and College of Rehabilitative Sciences," the statement read. —  /BRP (FREEMAN)


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