Shooting stuns staff, relatives

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

SWIFT. Sudden.

Thus described Southwestern University (SWU) working student Ian Lucero, 18, the killing of Dr. Cris Cecil Chan Abbu, 56, inside the latter’s clinic yesterday morning.

“I did not notice them fighting or arguing in the past,” he said in Cebuano.


Lucero, a business administration major, is assigned at the physical therapy/rehabilitation clinic of Sacred Heart Hospital in Barangay Sambag 2, Cebu City for a year already.

A security guard, who is an employee of the Paratroopers agency, said they do not carry metal detectors, which could have helped them detect the gun in the possession of Dr. Abbu’s patient and killer, Wilfredo Sabonsolin, 71.

A hospital intern, who requested anonymity, said Abbu will be missed in the medical community because the doctor often did not let his poor patients pay him.

Lucero said the incident only took a few seconds. After he called the name of Sabonsolin, he turned his back.

Lucero then heard gun shots.

He turned around and he saw the doctor sprawled bloodied on the floor. Sabonsolin was also dead on his wheelchair.

Before the shooting, Lucero said, Abbu told him that he was going to graduate with a master’s degree on business administration in SWU.

“He was smiling. I just smiled back at him,” he said.

The doctor’s sister visited the clinic yesterday afternoon, but she refused to give interviews.


The student described Abbu as a light-hearted person, who loved to crack jokes. Aside from the regular pay he receives from SWU as a student assistant in the clinic manned by Abbu and other physicians, the doctor often gave him allowance. “Doc was so good to me. He helped me financially,” said Lucero, who hails from the northern Cebu town of Consolacion.

Security guard Dionilo Lape said the physician often smiled at them when the latter passed them by the gate.

“He was not strict,” he said in Cebuano.

For John Paul, a third-year physical therapy student, Abbu is a big loss to Sacred Heart Hospital and SWU.

Abbu, he said, would have been their instructor next year on orthopedics, a branch of surgery concerning muscular and skeletal systems.

“He cannot impart his expertise to us anymore just because of an unexpected happening,” said John Paul.


Caring and helpful was how relatives describe Sabonsolin, a former seaman.

Because of his profession, he reportedly helped relatives and friends who wanted to become a seafarer.

One relative, who asked not to be named, said he last saw Sabonsolin in December 2013, and recalled he could still walk at that time.

He said he could not believe what happened yesterday when Sabonsolin shot dead his doctor and then killed himself.

Based on police investigation, Sabonsolin underwent four operations done by Abbu for his spinal column problem. The four operations were reportedly done this year.

Sabonsolin had a problem on his spinal column “due to excessive exercise and from lifting heavy objects.”


According to Barangay 2 Councilor Ryan Aznar and a property custodian in the Southwestern University, the first surgery of Sabonsolin was successful.

He could walk, but Abbu prevented him from lifting heavy objects.

But Sabonsolin later complained of back pain.

Another surgery was done, followed by the third and fourth surgery for him to walk.

After the surgery, Sabonsolin was supposed to undergo therapy.


Abbu scheduled him yesterday for a therapy, but Sabonsolin lamented that he still could not walk despite the surgeries.

Sabonsolin had three children.

He lived in Barangay Guadalupe with his 70-year-old wife, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and his son, who is in his 30s, is also paralyzed.

Sabonsolin’s relative said his son was paralyzed after he went diving and hit his head on a rock.

Sabonsolin’s other daughter lives abroad, while his other son lives in another house with his family.

According to the investigation by the Homicide Section of the Cebu City Police Office, Sabonsolin may have been depressed.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 25, 2014.

Local news

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