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Latest News Philippines: SUICIDE ATTEMPT? –

WAS it a suicide attempt or an accident?               

Police asked the question after outgoing Cagayan de Oro Rep. Benjo Benaldo shot himself with his licensed caliber 9mm semi-automatic pistol inside his Congress office Thursday night.

Quezon City Police District director Senior Superintendent Richard A. Albano ruled out any foul play in the shooting and said only the lawmaker could say what really happened.

“The possibility of foul play, that’s negative. What’s being looked at is what happened. I think it’s only the congressman who can answer that when he’s well,” Albano said.

“Alam po ninyo, hindi naman natin masasabi sa ngayon kung magpapakamatay nga ang kongresista, dahil wala naman tayong saksi para makapagsabi noon, kaya tanging ang makakasagot lamang nito ay ang kongresista mismo,” Albano told reporters in a press conference.

An investigation showed that Benaldo was alone inside his office at the House of Representatives when the incident happened. Investigators discovered that there was no other access to the room of the lawmaker who recently was in the limelight due to alleged marital problems with his wife, Brazilian model and actress Daiana Menezes.

“If you look at it, it was a big room and there’s no other door inside where one can enter or exit so anyone can be seen going inside,” he said.

The victim was alone in his office when his colleagues heard a gunshot Thursday evening. He was immediately rushed to the nearby New Era Hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound from a 9mm bullet that hit his chest and exited at his back before hitting a window jalousie. He has been transferred to the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Q.C. where he has been listed in good condition.

Albano, however, said they are still investigating if it was a suicide try since responding investigators failed to find any suicide note in Benaldo’s office. He added that they are also looking at the possibility that it was a case of an accidental shooting.

As of yesterday, police are still investigating how Benaldo got hold of the gun inside the tightly-guarded House of Representatives which is currently undergoing a refurbishing for President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte appealed to the other lawmakers and to the public to respect Benaldo’s privacy.

Belmonte said that people should avoid making speculations while the lawmaker is not yet ready to talk about the shooting.

“Right now the incident continues to be thoroughly investigated and I hope that we all respect the privacy of the family at this time and avoid any other speculations. Benjo has not disclosed his reasons for what happened and may do so at the right time,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte also ordered a full report of the incident from House Sergeant-at-Arms General Nicasio Radovan who is also coordinating with the Quezon City Police Department.  


Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo said he had talked with Benaldo one hour before the incident and, according to him, there is no foul play involved.

“I cannot speculate if it was self-inflicted or accidental. But what is apparent is that he was alone in his room when it happened while the staff members were outside of his office,” Quimbo said in an interview.

”Obviously, if there was any foul play and if there was a third party, he would have told us. We talked for at least an hour or we were together for about an hour,” Quimbo added.

Like other lawmakers, Quimbo said they already noticed Benaldo looked depressed after he lost in his re-election bid. He also was allegedly having a marital problem with his wife Daiana.

A few days ago, Menezes posted in several social networking sites her pictures of her with bruises and complained of experiencing domestic violence. Menezes did not mention Benaldo’s name but later on they admitted their marital problem in public.

“Hindi naman maipagkakaila na hindi siya nanalo sa re-election. If you are not re-elected, that is a very painful experience. Dapat maintindihan natin ‘yun. He also has personal problems with his private life so siguro nagkapatong-patong,” Quimbo said.

Benaldo and Menezes got married in Las Vegas.    With Joel dela Torre, Jester P. Manalastas


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