Fiscal thought it was heart attack

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Friday, January 25, 2013

IN THE two days that she has been in the intensive care unit (ICU) with a bullet still lodged in her nape, Assistant Cebu City Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño thought she was admitted in the hospital because she had a heart attack.

Jojo Cornejo, brother of Casiño, said the prosecutor’s close friend visited her Wednesday night and informed her that she was shot by Canadian national John Pope inside the Chief Justice Fernan Palace of Justice Tuesday morning.

“She did not know she was shot. She was aware of the incident and that she was rushed to the hospital but thought she just had a heart attack since she fell down after she was shot,” Cornejo told Sun.Star Cebu.


In a phone interview yesterday, he said Casiño has shown signs of improvement, but her left eyesight is blurred by the swelling of her gunshot wound.

Pope shot Casiño when he passed by her at the hallway on the fourth floor of the Palace of Justice.

Minutes before that, he shot dead Dr. Rene Rafols and the latter’s lawyer, Jubian Achas, inside the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 6 courtroom.

In a radio dyLA interview, Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane confirmed the condition of Casiño’s eyesight.

Cornejo said the doctor had explained that Casiño’s left eye may have been affected by the swelling of the entrance wound on her nape.

“According to the doctor, this is just temporary but she will be closely monitored. Despite this, she showed signs of improvement,” he said.

Cornejo said they did not immediately inform his sister of what happened in court last Tuesday since her doctors advised her to rest.

“Her closest friends were the ones who told her about the entire incident, which helped her recall as well. The good thing is that her memory was not affected,” said Cornejo.

“She accepted it (incident). She is a strong woman and she knows how to handle it very well,” he added.

Several organizations, public and private citizens have already extended help and support to Casiño and her family.

Cornejo said the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Cebu City Chapter headed by lawyer Earl Bonachita gave them financial aid yesterday morning.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also got in touch with the Casiño family on Tuesday night and offered help.

“We truly welcome all these gestures that were shown by our colleagues, friends and other people who are concerned. We truly appreciate them,” said Cornejo.

Both Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama made arrangements for the private hospital to continue treating the prosecutor.

“I gave instructions not to stop treatment and I would guarantee payment,” Osmeña said in a text message, adding that he will offer his P300,000 Christmas bonus as assistance.

Cornejo said they are also grateful to people who offered to donate blood after learning that Casiño would need blood before her surgery.

The prosecutor will be observed for seven to 10 days before doctors remove the bullet from her nape.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 25, 2013.

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