Quantcast
Latest Stories

Suicide try shocks, bugs CDO folk

By

WHY DID HE DO IT? Rep. Jose Benjamin “Benjo” Benaldo is shown with his wife, Brazilian model Daiana Menezes, inside an ambulance for his transfer from New Era Hospital to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. This Instagram photo was taken by Rep. Miro Quimbo. ARNOLD ALMACEN

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Accident, suicide or drama?

The news about outgoing Rep. Jose Benjamin “Benjo” Benaldo’s suicide attempt in his office at the Batasan complex on Thursday night piqued the interest of residents of this city that they turned to social media sites to get the latest updates and offer their two cents’ worth.

Messages ranged from the supportive and sympathetic to the malicious and macabre.

“Get well soon Cong. Benaldo. Our prayers for your soonest recovery,” read a post on the Bangon Kagay-an Inc. page. Other netizens who were not as sympathetic wrote messages such as “Depression” and “Left by the Brazilian,” referring to Brazilian model-actress Daiana Menezes, Benaldo’s wife of seven months.

Other comments were: “Drama or suicide?” “Cannot accept his defeat.” “If he wanted to kill himself, he should have shot himself in the head. Perhaps he wants to be an actor?”

Police tape secures the office of Cagayan de Oro first district Rep. Benjo Benaldo after he apparently shot himself in the chest at the 5th floor of the Batasan Pambansa early Thursday evening, officials said. House Speaker Sonny Belmonte said Benaldo did not appear “emotionally distraught” before the incident, but added that he may have been depressed after losing his reelection bid in the 2013 elections. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ/INQUIRER

Others poked fun at Benaldo’s photo giving Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. a thumbs-up sign, assuring the latter that he is OK. “This is the only [attempted] suicide where the victim gives a thumbs-up.”

But former journalist Dolly Ilogon took up the cudgels for Benaldo, saying it is “so sad how some people can be so mean and heartless.”

“The Benaldo family is suffering in silence. Instead of criticism, let us all offer some prayers. After all, they, like us, are also pure Kagay-anons,” Ilogon said.

Cagayan de Oro City Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas said no one should speculate on why Benaldo had attempted to commit suicide.

No foul play

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has ruled out the possibility of foul play in the shooting incident in the office of Benaldo at Room 512 at the South Wing Building of the Batasan complex.

Based on witnesses’ accounts, the outgoing solon was alone in his office when he was discovered bloodied but alive, said Senior Supt. Richard Albano.

“There was no one else inside the office at the time of the incident. Before you could get to his office, one would have to pass through his staff members,” the official said in a press conference yesterday.

As to the nagging question of whether the incident was an accident or a suicide, the QCPD said it preferred to respect the privacy of the family.

Albano said it would be the congressman who could clear things up.

“He was the only one inside the room so only he can say what really happened,” the official said, adding that investigators did not find any suicide note inside the room.

A source described Benaldo’s office as “already bare” since the lawmaker was already packing up his things and preparing to leave his office.

For the past three days, Benaldo would often ask to be left alone.

Albano said the 9mm cal. SIG Sauer pistol that was recovered in Benaldo’s room was registered to the congressman.

Marital problems

There had been rumors that Benaldo and Menezes were having serious marital problems, which could have driven the lawmaker to try to commit suicide.

City Councilor Dante Pajo said that during the PaDayon Pilipino campaign, Benaldo was visibly protective of Menezes.

“They were a new couple, they must have been going through an adjustment period,” Pajo said.

During the campaign, Benaldo would tell his constituents how he met Menezes days after Tropical Storm  “Sendong.” A year later—in November 2012—the two married in Las Vegas.

But just weeks ago, Menezes posted photos of herself on Instagram showing an arm bleeding from cuts and wounds, with the remark, “I can’t take this anymore.”

Pajo said that should not be interpreted as domestic violence because “Benjo is so in love with Daiana.”

Before meeting Menezes, the lawmaker was regularly seen with several women, including a Russian blonde who was dubbed “mysterious lady” by locals, following his separation from  his first wife, the now US-based Gladioly Longson.

Former City Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya said rumors about the couple’s rocky marriage were unfounded.

“It’s not about his wife. But whatever reason he had,  only he knew it,” Nacaya said.

‘A strong man’

City Councilor President Elipe said he knew Benaldo to be “a strong man.”

“He had weathered some very personal problems before, and the suicide attempt was a shocking development,” Elipe said.

Elipe added that Benaldo was not the suicidal type. “He is very lively, always smiling,” he said.

Mayor Vicente Emano, who mentored Benaldo on politics, agreed with Elipe’s statement.

“A very strong person, a nice fellow,” Emano described the lawmaker.

Nacaya said that in one way or another, Benaldo’s suicide attempt was a grand statement about the state of politics in the city and in the country.

He said that based on reports, Benaldo left bundles of P1,000 bills and a note saying “cremate for political reforms.”

Benaldo started his political career as councilor in 1998, joining Emano’s PDP-Laban party.

As a councilor, Benaldo campaigned against the rising cost of electricity, with Cagayan de Oro Electric Power and Light Co. as his favorite whipping boy.

After losing in his initial congressional bid in 2007, Benaldo ran again in the first district congressional race in 2010. He eventually became assistant House majority floor leader.

During the campaign for the 2013 midterm elections, Benaldo always drew attention to his work in Congress as the voice from Mindanao.

“A voice from Cagayan de Oro rang in the house of Congress,” he had said.

Metrosexual

People who knew Benaldo well describes him as a metrosexual—a neologism that refers to a man who is meticulous about his looks.

Benaldo was always seen in public wearing signature clothes and is one of the well-dressed congressmen in the 15th Congress.

He had been criticized by political observers for living an “Imeldific lifestyle.”

In his three years in Congress, Benaldo had authored 14 bills and coauthored 38 others.

He was a member of the following committees: energy, rules, government reorganization, higher and technical education, human rights, information and communication technology, justice, overseas workers affairs and ways and means. With a report from Julie M. Aurelio in Manila

First posted 7:08 pm | Friday, June 28th, 2013


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: banjo benaldo , benjo benaldo , Cagayan de Oro , Daiana Menezes , Instagram , Internet , Jose Benjamin Benaldo , New Era Hospital , News , Politics , Regions , Rep. Jose Benjamin Benaldo , Rep. Miro Quimbo , Shooting , Social Media , Suicide , suicide drama




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Roxas on suspension: I’m not above the law
  • Singaporean fined nearly $8,000 for animal cruelty
  • Pope in hot water over ‘personal’ phone calls
  • Foreign food aid drying up in North Korea
  • Cayetano to DOJ: Bare Napoles’ list of ‘pork’ officials
  • Sports

  • Guiao fined P100,000 for ‘mongoloid’ comment vs Meralco forward
  • Hawks and Grizzlies revel in home wins
  • Floyd: Manny’s power gone
  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • BDO nets P5.5 B in Q1
  • Pacquiao may be 2013 top taxpayer
  • Emperador nets P1.7 B in Q1
  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Plane lands at Bali airport in suspected hijacking—Indonesia air force
  • Obama lands in Seoul as N. Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Militant protests vs Obama, US set
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement