COTABATO CITY: Central Mindanao’s medical community is mourning the death of the younger brother of the Health secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), a crusading ophthalmologist who was killed here on Tuesday.
Physicians across the region went on Facebook to air their sentiments over the murder of eye doctor Shajid Sinolinding inside his clinic along Sinsuat Avenue this city.
The Manila Times source said the gunman, who came at about 11 a.m. and who said he wanted to have his eyes checked, barged into the clinic and shot Sinolinding in the face and then the doctor’s bodyguard Mohammad Esmael.
The suspect took the escort’s handgun and wallet before escaping amid a commotion triggered by bursts of gunfire.
Sources from the police and Army intelligence communities told reporters the gunman is from Pagalungan town in Maguindanao and was allegedly hired by an influential school official based in North Cotabato.
Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman has directed the ARMM police director, Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, to help investigate the incident.
Sinolinding, 40, was the younger brother of the ARMM’s regional health secretary, Kadil Sinolinding Jr., also an ophthalmologist trained in India.
The slain doctor has treated for free more than 5,000 poor cataract patients and initiated dozens of ARMM-assisted outreach missions in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Relatives noted that the CCTV (closed-circuit television) camera in the medical complex where the doctor’s clinic is located, malfunctioned at the time, making them to suspect it was jammed.
Senior Insp. Alexander de Pedro, Cotabato City Police Office spokesman, said the gunman could have had an accomplice in the building.
Army and police intelligence officials told members of the media here that Sinolinding’s murder could be related to the ambush of his older brother, college professor Harris, at Arakan town in North Cotabato on August 2, 2016.
Harris, a senior faculty member in Cotabato Foundation College for Science and Technology, survived the attack by three men while on his way to the campus.
The ARMM health secretary said he and his family have been receiving death threats since last year after Harris exposed corruption in the state college.
“I hope the Philippine National Police and President Rodrigo Duterte would look seriously into this incident. My younger brother [Jaja] now is collateral damage, they threatened to get any one of us,” he added.