The remains of John Holdridge Pope, the Canadian expatriate who went on a shooting rampage in Cebu’s Palace of Justice courtroom last Jan. 22, were cremated Friday evening.
His ashes were placed in an urn and handed over to a Ires Adiong of Sagay City, Negros Occidental, a woman Pope earlier described in his journal as his former lover and the mother of a young girl he considered “the light of my life.”
A diplomat from the Canadian Embassy said the move was made with the consent of the 66-year-old retiree’s next of kin.
“We wish to inform you that the next of kin of Mr. Pope has authorized the Embassy of Canada in Manila, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Canada, to facilitate arrangements for the cremation of the remains of Mr. Pope and provided funds to cover the relevant costs,” said Cindy Taylor, First Secretary and Consul of the Canadian Embassy in a letter to Mario Esparica of Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in Cebu City.
Taylor said Pope’s family refused to have an autopsy done and that Pope’s family decided to hand over his ashes to Adiong.
Pope’s US-based sister, Susan Webb, was initially expected to arrive in Cebu City yesterday to claim her brother’s body.
Arnel Sumampong, a security guard on duty at Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes, said Pope’s body was cremated from 7:02 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. last Friday. He said a woman from Negros Occidental claimed the ashes.
A post mortem examination was made by Dr. Nestor Sator, medico-legal officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory, before Pope’s body was cremated.
Sator’s findings showed that there was tattooing or smudging in the gunshot wound on Pope’s right temple, proof of close range firing. The bullet exited in the left temple.
A hair strand found on the tip of the barrel of the caliber. 357 revolver recovered from Pope also indicate that it was fired at close range.
The vital basis for the police to conclude that Pope shot himself is the sworn statement of a process server who said he saw Pope fire his gun at his own head. Supt. Mariano Natu-el, Cebu CIty police chief, said the circumstantial evidence and witness statement in Pope’s case are enough to prove that he shot himself.