Ambushed lawyer’s kin seeks NBI’s assistance

·3 min read

THE family of Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales, the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) lawyer who was ambushed on Sept. 1, 2022 in Mandaue City, has sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI 7) to investigate her case.

Arnel Pura, the NBI 7-Mandaue City in-charge, told reporters on Tuesday, Sept. 6, that they received an email from Gonzales’ sister on Sept. 2 seeking the agency’s assistance.

The NBI 7 has launched a parallel investigation on the ambush right after receiving the letter, said Pura.

He added that the NBI 7 considered Gonzales’ incident a priority case considering the threat it has given to the public, especially to the legal profession.

He said all agents and force multipliers of the NBI 7 are working toward solving the case.

The NBI Central Office assigned the Cebu District Office to handle the probe.

Pura said they have prioritized extracting closed circuit television (CCTV) footage that may have captured the movement of Gonzales and her son—from the time they left her workplace up to the time they were ambushed.

They, however, have not gathered any new information and pieces of evidence yet.

‘Recovery stage’

Pura also said they have not talked with the victim yet. Gonzales’ doctors advised them to wait for at least three weeks, as she is still in the recovery stage.

The NBI official said they would also look into all angles concerning the incident, including the victim’s position as head of CPA’s business and marketing department, as well as her personal engagements.

He said they would also coordinate with the Mandaue City police since they were the first responders to the incident.

Gonzales and her 19-year-old son were shot by two unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen around 10 p.m. last Thursday while driving along Hernan Cortes St. in Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City.

Following the incident, Lt. Col. Franco Rudolf Oriol, deputy director for operation and spokesperson of the Mandaue City Police Office, said Gonzales’ attackers really intended to kill her, based on the initial report provided by the Scene of the Crime Operation investigators.

The victims’ vehicle was peppered with at least six bullets, all located on the driver’s side where Gonzales was seated.

Oriol said according to Gonzales’ son, the suspects’ motorcycle had moved beside their vehicle and then the gunmen started shooting at them.

Gonzales sustained a gunshot wound on her lower left jaw that penetrated her neck, while her son had one minor gunshot wound in his back.

They both survived the incident.

Oriol said they would be looking into at least three possible motives for the attack, which would be Gonzales’ profession as a lawyer, particularly all the legal cases she had handled, her work as the head of CPA’s business and marketing department, and possible personal grudges.

On Monday, Sept. 5, Oriol told reporters they had already identified one person of interest in the incident.

He said they had narrowed one possible motive, which he could not divulge at the moment.

The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas also ordered the Mandaue City Police Office to solve the crime as soon as possible.

Several institutions condemned the incident. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City Chapter offered a P50,000 reward to anyone who could give information that would lead to the arrest of the shooter and other persons responsible for the shooting.

The Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag) condemned the attack, which is the first recorded assault against a lawyer under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Flag called for the immediate investigation and resolution of the case. (SunStar Philippines)