Trainee’s kin see foul play in his death in Laguna
ZAMBOANGA CITY—The grieving family of a maritime police trainee, who died inside the training camp in Laguna province on Feb. 27, urged authorities to dig deeper into the case instead of dismissing it as suicide.
Jovelyn Buendia, mother of 23-year-old Joel Buendia, and her relatives issued the call after the National Bureau of Investigation conducted an autopsy on the trainee here on Wednesday.
The NBI autopsy was conducted at the behest of the family, who had suspected early on that Joel’s death at Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna, was more than suicide.
Camp officials had claimed that Joel, whose family hailed from Siay town, Zamboanga Sibugay province, apparently died after ingesting a toxic substance in his room.
But the police trainee’s mother said there were bloodstains inside the room her son occupied at the training camp. She said these were splattered on surfaces of furniture and the walls, and even on the bathroom door.
She said the family could not believe what authorities had told them that her son was alone in the room when he died as other cadets were outside and were undergoing training.
Before he was found dead, Jovelyn said her son was admitted at the training camp’s infirmary for an undisclosed illness.
Leny Buendia, an aunt of the police trainee, who signed the consent for maritime authorities to conduct an autopsy, said her nephew’s face was also bloodied, particularly the area around his mouth.
A medicolegal official reportedly told the family that the huge amount of blood was due to excessive vomiting when Joel ingested the toxic substance.
The aunt said the medicolegal official also reportedly told them that the upper esophagus and the mouth area had been “burned” by the strong chemicals present in the substance ingested by the victim. What kind of chemical was involved had not been known.
But the trainee’s mother said they were never given a copy of the autopsy report from the procedure ordered by maritime authorities.
She said there was no apparent reason for her son to commit suicide.
Leny said her nephew had been complaining about having to pay for passes whenever they leave camp.
But he never complained about physical abuses, she said.
Joel was a 2011 graduate of Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology. In November, he went to Manila and started training at the maritime police training camp. Liza Jocson, Inquirer Mindanao
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Center for Mental Health hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free).
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