Cebu port lawyer’s family seeks NBI’s help

·3 min read

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

Arnel Pura, the NBI agent in charge, told reporters on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, that they received an email from Gonzales' sister on September 2 seeking the agency's assistance.

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

He added that the NBI considered Gonzales' incident a “command” or 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 are working toward resolving the case.

Pura said they prioritized extracting closed circuit television (CCTV) footages that may have caught Gonzales and her son when they left her workplace up to the time they were ambushed.

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

Pura also said they have not talked with the victim yet, as 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 engagement.

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. of September 1 while driving along Hernan Cortes St. in Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City.

Lieutenant Colonel Franco Rudolf Oriol, deputy director for operations and spokesperson of the Mandaue City Police Office, said on September 2 that Gonzales' attackers really intended to kill her, based on the initial report provided by the Scene of the Crime Operatives.

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

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

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