Painful questions surface after double shooting

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Friday, July 25, 2014

HOW did a patient bring a gun into a clinic without being detected? What could have motivated him to shoot his doctor? And how will the clinic’s management ensure that such attacks do not get repeated?

There will be no one to press charges against, in the fatal shooting of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Cris Cecil Chan Abbu by his patient, Wilfredo Sabonsolin, who then turned the gun on himself.

But police and school officials said yesterday they will seek answers.


The police will check footage from the security cameras in the Sacred Heart Hospital, where Sabonsolin, 72, shot Dr. Abbu last Thursday morning.

There were witnesses, but Cebu City Intelligence Branch (CIB) Chief Romeo Santander said the police would need footage, even if no case will need to be filed.

“The family (of Dr. Abbu) still has questions…we will find out what really happened.

We understand their grief, and they need some answers,” said Santander.

Santander added that the police will also check if the hospital security has any liabilities in the incident, since Sabonsolin managed to enter the hospital with a firearm inside his bag.

As of yesterday, police have not yet talked with Sabonsolin’s family. Paraffin tests were conducted on him and Dr. Abbu, to check for gunpowder traces, and the results are expected next week.

Officials of the Southwestern University (SWU) and Sacred Heart Hospital are conducting stress debriefing sessions for their personnel who witnessed the shooting.

Meanwhile, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas said that Sabonsolin may have needed “emotional support” when he realized he couldn’t walk anymore, despite surgeries.

In a press conference yesterday, representatives of the Aznar family assured the public that they will assist the police in the investigation.

They will also provide financial assistance to Abbu’s family.

Talisay City Councilor Richard Francis Aznar said he was very close to Dr. Abbu and often asked him to treat constituents.

Aznar, who is the hospital’s facility and administrative manager, said that his office is just across the Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Center, where Abbu worked and died.

Aznar said that the “kind and no-nonsense” doctor took on a lot of charity cases, not just in Sacred Heart but also the government-operated Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

The surgeon was also teaching medicine in the Southwestern University for almost five years. A source close to the family, who requested not to be named, said that the doctor was generous, kind and passionate about his profession.

He said the family was devastated by the “senseless” killing.

Meanwhile, the Sabonsolin family declined interviews.

A relative, who asked not be named, said that Sabonsolin’s remains will be brought to Naval, Biliran today and the wake will continue in their house in Barangay Sto. Rosario in Naval. He will be buried next week. (John Cavin Sabonsolin, USJ-R Mass Com intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 26, 2014.

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