Doctor in Mendez slay shows up at NBI
October 01, 2007 23:01:00
MANILA, Philippines – The doctor who brought suspected hazing victim Cris Anthony Mendez to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center finally surfaced at the National Bureau of Investigation yesterday afternoon.
Dr. Francisco Cruz, an ophthalmologist at the VMMC in Quezon City, had in previous weeks refused to heed a summons of the NBI to shed light on the case.
Accompanied by his new lawyer, Norberto Malit, Cruz arrived at the NBI Anti-Terrorism Division office shortly before 2 p.m. He, however, declined to be interviewed by the media.
Romulo Asis, chief of the NBI-ATD, declined to reveal the content of Cruz’s statement but claimed that it was “very vital” to the investigation.
Malit said his client had every intention to come out and cooperate in the investigation but “was given a different advice by his previous lawyer.”
“His (Cruz) first lawyer had a different approach,” Malit told reporters.
“I advised him to come out in the open, otherwise he would be blamed. Mababaon siya dito.”
Cruz’s first lawyer, Rafael Armovit, was reportedly provided by the Sigma Rho, the fraternity alluded to as the group Mendez, a public administration major, tried to join.
Cruz did not show up at the NBI earlier because he was concerned for his son, Mico, who reportedly accompanied him in taking Mendez to the government hospital, Malit said.
“Si Dr. Cruz siyempre iniisip yung anak niya, nataranta na din,” the lawyer said as he confirmed that it was Mico who brought Mendez to their house in Congressional Village, Project 8, Quezon City.
Mico was a law student at the UP and reportedly a neophyte of the Sigma Rho fraternity, Malit said.
“Mico is young and gullible. Maybe he was the one asked by the group to bring Mendez to the hospital since his father is a doctor,” Malit explained.
“Being a doctor, the older Cruz acted on his instinct to check on Mendez and bring him to the hospital,” he added. “What else do you do when you see somebody in that condition?”
He said it was only in the hospital that Cruz probably realized the gravity of the situation.
“Ngayon silang mag-ama ang naiipit,” Malit said, adding that he would also convince Mico to cooperate in the investigation. Without saying that hazing actually occurred, Malit said Mendez’s injuries were “obviously hazing marks.”
On Aug. 27, Mendez was brought to the hospital by Cruz and several others. He was declared dead on arrival; the findings of an autopsy report showed that he was beaten up badly because of numerous bruises all over his body.
Apart from bringing the 20-year-old graduating college student to the VMMC, Asis had said it was also Cruz who approved the release of Mendez’s body to the St. Peter funeral parlor.