PSG: No foul play in major’s death at Palace quarters
The Presidential Security Group (PSG) sees no foul play in the death of one of its officers, Maj. Harim Gonzaga, who was found with a gunshot wound on the chest inside his quarters at Malacañang Park on Tuesday.
PSG chief, Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy, said he would rather not speculate on the cause of Gonzaga’s death as it was still under police investigation.
However, Dagoy ruled out foul play.
“It’s hard to say [if] it’s suicide. We do not have all the data to [make a conclusion]. It could also be an accident, but we leave it up to [police investigators],” he told reporters.
The body of the 37-year-old Gonzaga, the PSG chief of operations on administrative matters, was discovered by his wife, Maria Sheila, when she came home at 8:50 a.m. after bringing their daughter to school. Maria Sheila is also with the PSG.
The bullet was believed to have come from the victim’s personal firearm, a .45-caliber pistol, which was also found inside the couple’s quarters.
Maria Sheila recalled that before she left their house at 8:30 a.m. to bring their daughter to school, her husband asked her if she was coming back.
“Yes, I just have something to do at the office, but it won’t take long,” was her reply, she told case investigator SPO3 Jonathan Bautista of the Manila Police District.
Maria Sheila said she called up her husband 16 minutes later when one of his workmates asked her if he was coming to the office. But he did not respond to her repeated phone calls, prompting her to go home.
When she opened the door to their quarters, she found him lying on his back on their bed with his arms spread.
Bautista said the victim was shot at close range because there was “tattooing, which means the barrel [of the gun] was closer to the skin.”
Tattooing refers to a flower-shaped abrasion observed on the skin when it comes into contact with unburned gunpowder.
The police report also said there were no signs of a struggle and all of the victim’s possessions were untouched and in order.
According to Maria Sheila, her husband had no problems at work except for “not finishing his work load,” Bautista said.
She and her husband had no problems, either, whether personal or financial. He also did not have any enemies, she told the police.
Dagoy said most of Gonzaga’s neighbors were at work at the time of the incident. A soldier heard the shot, but dismissed it because the quarters were beside a firing range, he added.
Dagoy described Gonzaga as a “diligent” officer, one who was concerned with work. He was last promoted in October.
Gonzaga’s body was transferred to a funeral home to undergo postmortem and paraffin examinations.
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