Benaldo left suicide notes, money for cremation: source

reports from Jay Ruiz and Doland Castro, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 28 2013 07:23 PM | Updated as of Jun 29 2013 08:41 AM

MANILA - Two suicide notes and around P100,000 were found on top of the desk of Cagayan de Oro Rep. Benjo Benaldo after he tried to kill himself Thursday night, a House of Representatives employee said Friday.

The employee, whose identity is being withheld, told ABS-CBN News that they heard a gunshot from Benaldo's office at around 8 p.m., followed by screams from the congressman's staff.

"Nakita na namin siya duguan. Binuhat siya papalabas ng opisina," he said. "Minura ng chief of staff niya iyung security, sobrang nataranta, 'di alam gagawin kaya sinakay siya sa sariling sasakyan, umuungol siya."

The employee also said the two suicide notes were found on top of the stack of money on the lawmaker's desk.

'This is the money for my cremation please cremate... my death is for electoral reform sana mabago na sistema," one of the notes allegedly stated.

Photos taken by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) show blood and bullet slugs at the office of the outgoing lawmaker and husband of Brazilian model Daiana Menezes.

A 9mm pistol supposedly used in the shooting was left on top of a desk.

Benaldo sustained a bullet wound in his chest.

He was rushed to New Era Hospital, Thursday night, then later transferred to Saint Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City.
Benaldo was seen with Menezes inside the ambulance.

Sources said Benaldo was saddened by his loss in the recent elections, along with problems with his marriage.

House Speaker Sonny Belmonte on Friday said indications point to a failed suicide attempt by Benaldo.

Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo said Benaldo is going through a rough time.

The QCPD believes there was no foul play in the incident.

"Siya lang kasi ang nasa loob ng kuwarto. Sabi ng [investigators], nakaupo siya. Paibaba ang tama ng bala. Through-and-through at tumama sa may window," QCPD Director Senior Supt. Richard Albano.

Authorities said Benaldo's gun was licensed, but his permit to carry expired in March 22, 2012.

Police have yet to confirm if charges will be filed against the outgoing congressman.

House Sergeant-at-Arms Nicasio Radovan, meanwhile, said firearms are not allowed at Batasang Pambansa.

"The congressmen are given the courtesy of not making them pass under the X-ray scanner and being bodily frisked," Radovan said.

Asked how compliance of lawmakers can be checked with such a courtesy in place, Radovan said, "We rely on their being responsible and honorable personalities."

Radovan said he will now recommend a review of the courtesy given to lawmakers.

Belmonte has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident. - with ANC