Ex-AFP chief Angelo Reyes commits suicide

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2011 08:49 AM | Updated as of Feb 09 2011 04:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) - Former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes died Tuesday morning after sustaining a gunshot to his chest in an act of suicide.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said Reyes was brought to the Quirino hospital at 7:30 a.m. with a bullet wound in the left part of his chest and was pronounced dead at 8:32 a.m.. He was 65.

Ona said Reyes had no vital signs when brought to the hospital: he was not breathing, had no pulse, no blood pressure and was already cold.

Ona said doctors tried to resuscitate Reyes for 45 minutes but failed, after which doctors pronounced him dead.

Ona said the entry and exit gunshot wound of Reyes was "really fatal."

NCRPO chief Director Nicanor Bartolome confirmed that Reyes died in an act of suicide.

Reyes visited his mother's tomb with 2 children and 2 aides at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City early Tuesday before he shot himself.

Reyes asked his children and aides to leave him at the tomb and then a shot was heard, a witness at the memorial park told radio dzMM in an interview.

"Pinalayo ang mga anak tapos biglang may pumutok. Nakita ko na lang si Reyes nakalugmok sa puntod ng nanay niya," the caretaker said.

The caretaker said other workers at the memorial park told him that Reyes also visited his mother's tomb on Monday.

Reyes had been named as one of the corrupt military chiefs in the on-going probe into the plea bargain deal of former Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia.

Mother's tombstone smeared with blood

Radio dzMM reporter Jun Lingcoran reported that Reyes was sitting in front of his mother's tomb when the shooting happened.

The tombstone of Reyes's mother, Purificacion Reyes, a public school teacher, was smeared with his blood after the incident.

According to workers at the cemetery, the former military chief carried with him the book on Donald Trump, "Trump: The Art of the Deal."

His family sent word through Reyes's publicist, Pat Daza, that the book was being read by one of his sons.

Meanwhile, Reyes's body was brought out of the hospital shortly after 11 a.m.. It was transported by a white van of the Arlington Memorial Chapels.

In a press briefing earlier in the day, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Nicanor Bartolome said the family of Reyes has asked for privacy before giving statements to the police.

"For now, we still have to complete our investigation before we can issue statements," he said. "We will conclude the investigation later on."

Eyewitness

Feliciano Recorba, a maintenance worker at the memorial park, said he was the first to rush to Reyes after the shooting.

Recorba told reporters that Reyes was facing his mother's tomb and praying. He saw the former military chief holding a gun with his left hand.

Reyes then pointed the gun toward his chest and then he heard a gunshot, he added.

"Nakita ko na lang na may baril sa kamay niya, sa kaliwa, pagkatapos, mamaya ng konti, itinapat sa dibdib. Doon na ako lumapit. Ako ang unang rumesponde para ikarga siya sa kotse," Recorba said.

Before the shooting, he overheard Reyes order his 2 children and aides to just wait for him at the car.

After the gunshot was heard, Recorba said Reyes's aide ran to his boss. Reyes's children and driver followed, he added.

He said Reyes was still moving when he picked up his body, but the former military chief became very pale before they reached the car.

Recorba said that he has given his statement on the incident to investigators who invited him to the police station after the incident. -- With reports from Doland Castro and Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News, and radio dzMM