Patient kills Cebu doctor in clinic

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Friday, July 25, 2014

CEBU. Wilfred Sabonsolin, 71, lies dead on his wheelchair after he shot himself in the temple after he shot his doctor, orthopedic surgeon Cris Cecil Abbu, twice. The doctor died at the operating room. Sabonsolin, a former seaman, had a firearm license card. (Sun.Star photo/Alan Tangcawan)

CEBU CITY (Updated) - A 71-year-old wheelchair-bound patient shot dead his doctor inside a clinic in a private hospital in Cebu City before shooting himself in the head yesterday morning, July 24.

Dr. Cris Cecil Chan Abbu, 56, an orthopedic surgeon, was shot in the chest and arm by Wilfred Sabonsolin, a former seaman he had been treating for spinal problems.

After shooting Abbu, Sabonsolin also shot himself in the head using a caliber .380 pistol that he had kept in a small sling bag.


The crime happened inside the Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Center of the Sacred Heart Hospital on Urgello St., Cebu City at 9:45 a.m.

It prompted acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella to strengthen security measures to prevent similar incidents from happening.

Sabonsolin’s spine problem was reportedly caused by too much exercise.

In one year, he reportedly underwent four operations done by Abbu, who was also a resident consultant at the Cebu City Medical Center.

Despite the procedures, Sabonsolin still could not walk.

Sabonsolin’s helper, 30-year-old Renel Tanilon, said he did not hear any commotion before the shooting. He usually accompanies the former seaman for his medical check-up at Abbu’s clinic.

He told Sun.Star Cebu that he did not notice anything unusual yesterday when they boarded a taxi from their house on Maria Teresa 2, Barangay Guadalupe up to the time they arrived at the hospital at 9:30 a.m.

“I had no idea that he was bringing a firearm,” said Tanilon.

When they reached the hospital, they got off at the entrance gate of the hospital and went straight to the Physical Therapy Rehab Center.

The guard at the entrance gate checked him but not Sabonsolin, who was on a wheelchair.

When they arrived at the rehab center, they proceeded to the table where Abbu was seated.

“I heard the doctor ask him (Sabonsolin) how he was, then he told the doctor that he still could not walk,” Tanilon said.

“Then the doctor assured him not to worry because the therapy would help him walk,” he said.

Tanilon said that it was the only exchange Sabonsolin had with Abbu.

Tanilon seated himself and was shocked when he saw Sabonsolin pull out a gun from his sling bag and shot Abbu twice.

“Naratol ko unya ako siya giingnan nga ‘Tay! Nganu imo mana gibuhat?’ Dayon nidagan ko sa gawas para mangayo og tabang,” Tanilon added. (I panicked. I asked him, “Tay, what have you done?” Then I ran out to get help.)

Seeing Abbu slumped to the floor and bleeding, Tanilon ran out of the room to ask for help but heard another gunshot.

Gardener Eric Dictatoria, who was watering the plants outside the clinic, checked the rehab center when he heard the gunshots. He saw the doctor and his patient bloodied.

Seconds later, paramedics arrived inside the clinic and rushed Abbu to the emergency room, but the doctor was pronounced dead at 10:30 a.m. by physicians James Guardiaro and Ferdinand Kionisala.

Sabonsolin died on the spot after shooting his left temple. The bullet exited his right temple.

Previous killing

In February 2006, an internist was also shot dead by a former patient, a Dutch, inside her clinic at the second floor of Cebu Doctors’ University Health Sciences Center.

After killing 51-year-old Dr. Jane Lim-Chua, Oleg Parfenyuk, 52, also shot himself with a .380 pistol.

The armed man slipped past the building’s security guard and barged into the doctor’s clinic.

The police found three empty shells of caliber .380 pistol from the crime scene.

Fuente Police Chief Wildemar Tiu said six people were inside the clinic during the shooting.

Aside from Sabonsolin, Abbu and Tanilon, another patient, a doctor and the clinic’s secretary were inside.

The witnesses declined media interviews.

Security check

Ryan Aznar, Sambag 2 barangay councilor and Southwestern University property custodian, said Abbu had been practicing at the hospital for almost 20 years.

He described him as “a nice person” and said the doctor had never been hostile to any of his patients.

He said the security guard may not frisked Sabonsolin because the old man was a regular patient in the hospital.

“Who would have thought that an old man on a wheelchair was bringing a firearm and would shoot his doctor? This is a very odd incident,” said Aznar.

He said that security guards in the hospital and in the university are usually strict when checking those who go inside.

Deputy Regional Director for Operations (DRDO) Conrad Capa said that all motives should be considered and investigated.

“Even if the man was on a wheelchair, he should be inspected properly. That should be the duty of every security guard,” Capa said in an interview at the crime scene.


In his press conference yesterday, Labella said that he asked Romana to conduct a thorough investigation.

Labella said that Abbu was a resident consultant in CCMC who had been helping the City, and is a loss to the medical profession.

“I already instructed Romana to get to the buttom of the incident,” Labella told reporters.

He said he wants to know if the hospital had committed security lapses, making it easy for Sabonsolin to bring in a firearm.

He said he wants Romana to give him a report on the results of the investigation.
The police will also check Sabonsolin’s caliber .380 pistol with serial number 976730 to find out if it is registered.

Sabonsolin had a firearm license card, valid from Dec. 2, 2013 to Nov. 16, 2015.

The management of Southwestern University, in a statement, said it will cooperate with the police in their investigation.

SPO4 Alex Dacua of the CCPO’s Homicide Section said they have not talked to the Abbu and Sabonsolin families yet.

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

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