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Soldier kills self after shooting teacher dead, wounding pupil in Bulacan

BOCAUE, Bulacan — An Army soldier shot dead an elementary school teacher and wounded one of her pupils inside a classroom here on Wednesday (Nov. 21) before turning the gun on himself, the police said.

Ruperto Datwin, 40, from the Philippine Army, broke into the classroom of the Tambunong Elementary School and approached teacher Melody Esber, 33, spoke to her, and then shot her in the chest with a handgun.

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Nine-year-old Raine Julian was hit on the left shoulder by a stray bullet but is in a stable condition at a hospital.

Police have yet to determine the motive behind the shooting but they found a folder containing handwritten accounts concerning the “relationship” between the soldier and the teacher. It was not clear who owned the folder.

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The Philippine National Police – Scene of the Crime Operatives is now investigating pieces of documents to establish the case.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna told INQUIRER.net that a folder containing notes written by both the suspect and the victim was recovered from the latter’s classroom. He said the notes contained narrations about their “relationship” as well as the million-peso worth of debt incurred by the woman.

One of the notes recovered even read: “Kamatayan lamang ang makapaghihiwalay sa atin (Only death can separate us),” he said.

Bersaluna said the police are looking into possible debt and love triangle as among motives behind the shooting, since the teacher has also been separated from her former husband prior to their relationship.

Datwin describes Esber as his girlfriend. Esber is married but is allegedly estranged from her husband.

Bersaluna said the note states that Datwin did not want to live without Esber, who was supposedly facing financial difficulties due to debts left by her husband.

“Lumalabas na ayaw na ng babae ituloy ang kanilang relasyon at hindi ito matanggap ng lalaki (It appears that the teacher was ending their relationship, which the soldier could not accept),” Bersaluna said.

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The police are still investigating the incident, while the teacher’s family has yet to issue a statement. /jpv

The Department of Health (DOH) reminded the public, especially those who may have mental health issues, that they can contact the DOH’s 24/7 Hopeline to either help them unburden their emotional baggage or to seek professional help. 

Hopeline can be reached via:

  • 804-HOPE (4673)
  • 0917-558-HOPE (4673), or
  • 2919 (toll-free number for Globe and TM subscribers)
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TAGS: Army soldiers, Bulacan, Local news, Philippine News, pupil, teacher
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