Cagayan de Oro Rep. Benjamin Benaldo, who tried to take his life in his office at the House of Representatives Thursday night, took his defeat in the May elections hard, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said.
Belmonte made the disclosure in an interview after he and House Majority Leader Romero Quimbo of Marikina visited Benaldo in New Era hospital in Quezon City.
“His wife told us that after his defeat in the last elections, he was somewhat unhappy,” Belmonte told reporters, referring to Benaldo’s wife and Brazilian model Daiana Menezes.
Benaldo, a member of the Nacionalista party, lost in the May elections against the ruling Liberal Party’s Rolando Uy. Benaldo filed a protest against Uy’s victory before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal last June 7.
Further, Belmonte said it was the employees of the House of Representatives who are stationed near Benaldo’s office in South Wing who heard what sounded like a gunshot inside Benaldo’s office around 7 p .on Thursday.
When House employees checked, they found him sitting in a chair, blood flowing from a chest wound.
Belmonte said a 9-millimeter pistol was on Benaldo’s table. Guns are banned inside the Batasang Pambansa.
“We don’t know yet if he owns the gun. It could be accidental or not. I cannot venture into that. All I know is that he was alone in his room [when a gunshot was heard]. I wasn’t probing. We did not delve into asking very serious questions. We just asked him if he is okay. We wanted him to be okay,” Belmonte said.
Benaldo was thrown to national spotlight this month because his celebrity wife went on a posting spree on social networking sites condemning violence against women. The posts fueled perceptions that Benaldo was a wife beater.
The couple, who got married in Las Vegas in December 2012, admitted that they had problems in an interview in showbiz talkshow The Buzz but denied that Benaldo was physically or emotionally hurting his wife.
Quimbo won’t say it was a suicide attempt but admitted that the signs were there.
“He’s going through a lot of things. If somebody wanted to hurt him, he would have told us about i),” Quimbo said.
At the end of Thursday night, Belmonte said Benaldo’s condition was stable but that the congressman would have to be transferred to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City for further tests.
“We were able to chat with him. He is now very stable, in high spirits, conversing with us. I asked him, are you really okay, and he gave a thumbs up. Fortunately, the trajectory of the bullet is downward, so his vital organs were spared, except probably his lungs,” Belmonte said.
“When we [himself and Quimbo]arrived, the wife is yet to be allowed inside, so she cried. She was eventually allowed to get in and they started chatting, hugging each other,” Belmonte said.
LLANESCA T. PANTI