The Presidential Security Group (PSG) is in mourning following the death of one of its officials in the grounds of the Malacañan palace.
Major Harim G Gonzaga was found dead this morning (Tuesday, September 26) inside his quarters, according to PSG commander Brigadier General Lope Dagoy.
Brig. Gen. Dagoy, speaking to reporters at the presidential palace, said Gonzaga had suffered a gunshot to his chest when he was found by his wife Sheila shortly before 9am.
A .45 calibre pistol, reportedly owned by Major Gonzaga, was recovered near his body.
Major Gonzaga, aged 37 and a father of two, was head of the PSG operations section.
Brig. Gen. Dagoy said the incident was now the subject of a police investigation.
Although he declined to give further details while investigations continue, he did say there was no immediate evidence of foul play.
“We really cannot speculate. It’s hard to say if it’s suicide when we don’t have the data to conclude. It could also be an accident but we leave it up to SOCO [scene of the crime operatives],” he said.
Malacañan shooting investigated
When he talked to Major Gonzaga’s wife, who is also a member of the PSG, she said they had no particular problems, but that her husband had mentioned his heavy workload.
“It’s just normal for us. You are in PSG. I don’t think it’s a reason for him to take his life,” he said.
He added that President Duterte was in the PSG compound when the shooting occurred.
The PSG has expressed grief and condolences to the family and friends of Major Gonzaga.
A statement read: “Presidential Security Group does not want to speculate the cause of his death and will wait for the official findings of SOCO as the Command pays highest respect to the privacy of his immediate family.”
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told the SunStar that the major’s death was a cause for concern but the nature of the situation needed to be clarified.
“We don’t know the exact nature of the incident. We need to be able to find out exactly what it was,” he said.