By Teng Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief
COTABATO City — An eye doctor and his bodyguard were shot dead by an unidentified gunman inside his clinic here on Tuesday morning.
Dr. Sajid “Jaja” Sinolinding and his bodyguard, Mohamad Esmael, were shot shortly past 11 am by a lone assailant who posed as a cataract patient and went inside Sinolinding’s clinic located at the second floor of the Cotabato Doctors’ Clinic along Sinsuat Avenue.
Once inside, the gunman pulled a handgun and opened fire on the unsuspecting eye doctor and his bodyguard, Mohammad Esmael, witnesses said.
The suspect walked casually down the stairs after shooting the two.
Crime scene investigators have gathered information from witnesses and are preparing the cartographic sketch of the gunman.
The family of the slain doctor has yet to issue a statement on the incident, which shocked the Cotabato City Medical Society.
In another development, the police are baffled over missing footages of the CCTV coinciding with the time of the shooting.
The slain doctor’s brother, Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr., secretary of the Department of Health of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, lamented that they could not identify the assailant anymore because of the missing CCTV footages.
The shooting inside the doctor’s clinic happened between 11:10 to 11:15 am at the second floor of the building of the Cotabato Doctors Clinic, Inc.
Footages before and after that time were reportedly available.
“It seems the suspects jammed the signal of the video recording, this is why we submitted the video files to CIDG [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group] for deeper investigation,” said Senior Insp. Alexander de Pedro, spokesperson of the Cotabato City Police.
The slain doctor’s secretary who asked not to be identified said the gunman forcibly entered the clinic past 11 am despite the advisory that they could not accept any more patients for the day because of the long queue.
“He insisted. He said he just wanted to talk to the doctor, then suddenly pulled his gun. I scampered to the corner. It was then that he entered the doctor’s office just a few meters away and shot Doc Ja at close range,” the secretary narrated.
“When our guard approached, he too was shot several times even before he could enter the door,” she added.
The guard’s service firearm and wallet were also taken away by the lone assailant. Investigators, however, believe he had accomplices at the ground floor area. (with reports from mindanews)