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Eye doctor slain in Cotabato

COTABATO CITY—The family of slain ophthalmologist Dr. Sajid “Jaja” Sinolinding here appealed Wednesday to President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate his murder, as well as the alleged corruption in a state college in North Cotabato.

Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, health secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said his slain sibling was “collateral damage” after another brother, Professor Harris Sinolinding, survived an ambush last year after he exposed corruption at the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology in Arakan, North Cotabato.

Dr. Jaja was shot dead by a lone gunman while he was attending to a patient inside his clinic at the second floor of the Cotabato Doctors’ Clinic, which is along Sinsuat Avenue here, at around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The gunman, who posed as a patient, also shot dead Dr. Jaja’s armed security escort, and fled casually amid the commotion, witnesses said.

Dr. Jaja’s fellow physician, Dr. Faisal Samanodi, said he rushed to the crime scene after hearing from his adjacent clinic six gunshots in rapid succession in about six seconds.

“Two people fell dead in six seconds. I loudly heard the gunshot sounds echoing through the walls of our building. It’s up on my clinic. Our patients panicked, rushing through different directions. Others ducked for cover,” said Samanodi, a surgeon.

“When we entered his clinic, I saw the bodyguard lay lifeless in supine position. I could smell gunpowder then i saw the body of this young ophthalmologist in prone position. He was no longer breathing and blood splattered all over. The gunman just casually escaped with the panicked patients,” he added.

Dr. Kadil said the family was dismayed and bothered to learn that the medical facility’s CCTV cameras failed to capture the events before and after the murder.

Dr. Kadil said he was told “that all other events inside the clinic were recorded except the minutes or seconds before and after his 37-year-old brother was killed at around 11:10 a.m.”

Senior Inspector Alexander de Pedro, police station 2 chief and city police spokesperson, admitted the CCTV failed to capture the face or how the gunman entered the building and into the victim’s clinic.

The younger Sinolinding and his armed escort, Mohammad Esmael, both died on the spot after they were shot by the gunman, who posed as a patient. The ophthalmologist was shot in the face while he was examining another patient. 

De Pedro told reporters that it appeared the suspect or his accomplices had jammed the video signal.

“That is why we submitted the footages to the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) for further investigation,” he said.

The doctor’s lady secretary, asking for anonymity, said the suspect came to the office at about 11 a.m. and wanted to see Dr. Jaja, who was then attending a patient.

When told the clinic was no longer accepting patients since the cut-off time had lapsed, the suspect pulled his hand gun, barged inside, and shot the doctor.

Dr. Kadil said his slain brother has no known enemies “but we have death threats so he sought for an armed security escort.” 

The Sinolinding siblings, born of a Moro Muslim family of educators, are known for their local medical missions, giving free eye operations to indigent patients.

“He (Sinolinding) was a young promising surgeon who sacrificed to help his own people. From God we came, to God we return,” Samanodi said. With PNA

Topics: Dr. Sajid “Jaja” Sinolinding , North Cotabato , Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology

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