Surgeon slain in courtroom shooting buried-A A +A
Monday, January 28, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Family members, fellow doctors, friends and former patients sent off Dr. Reynold Rafols at the Angelicum Garden of Angels in Barangay Canduman, Mandaue City, Sunday afternoon.
The convoy arrived in the memorial garden shortly after 3 p.m.
Rafols’s wife, Dr. Elaine, was composed during the final blessing of his remains. But she and their two daughters, all dressed in white, broke into sobs as pallbearers lowered the white casket to the ground.
Among those who attended the burial of Rafols were the people he helped.
Flora Rafols, wife of a cousin of Rafols, recalled that the doctor saved her daughter’s life in 2011.
Their daughter had an aneurysm and was admitted in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), a government-owned hospital in Cebu City.
Flora said they were too shy to ask for Rafols’s help, but they informed him when the ailment of their daughter, who was 18 years old then, became severe.
Rafols rushed to the operating room and helped in her treatment.
“He scolded my husband for not telling him our daughter’s situation right away,” said Flora said in Cebuano. The doctor did not charge them any fee.
Without the doctor’s help, their daughter might have been comatose or paralyzed, Flora said.
“Maayo kaayo to siya nga tawo. Motabang gyud siya og pobre (He was a very good person. He helped the poor),” said Paz Espinosa, a relative of Rafols’s wife.
Rafols and his lawyer, Jubian Achas, were shot by Canadian John Pope inside the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 6 last January 22.
Pope also shot Assistant City Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Calibugan-Casiño, who survived the attack.
Rafols was the pediatric surgery head of the VSMMC since 1995. He was an esteemed pediatric surgeon who had been in the profession for about 20 years.
Dr. Manuel Gines, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), said Rafols was the section head of the VSMMC Pediatrics Surgery at the time of his death.
Gines said that although Rafols was not working full-time at VSMMC, he was required under the Civil Service Law to report at least 20 hours a week.
Dr. Joseph Al Alesna, chief of the VSMMC Office of Special Concerns, said he gave to Rafols the position of chief of the pediatric section of VSMMC when he became the administrative chief and training officer.
“He was active as referral doctor to pediatric cases,” Alesna said.
The management of VSMMC, in a statement, said he was a big loss to the hospital.
“His contribution in the service and in the training programs of residency will be remembered by those to whom his wisdom has been unselfishly passed,” the hospital said.
The past president of the Cebu Medical Society (CMS) also said Rafols was active in various medical missions and relief operations that they organized during calamities.
Dr. Wyben Briones of CMS said that last January 22, they inducted Rafols as new member of the All-Terrain Medical Relief Operations (Amro). It was the third anniversary of Amro, which was organized to help victims of calamities.
Last month, Amro conducted medical missions and relief operations for the victims of Typhoon Pablo in Compostela Valley. Although Rafols failed to participate because of previous commitments, he facilitated the donations of surgical supplies.
Briones led the 12-man team in carrying the coffin of Rafols out of the Redemptorist Church after the requiem at 2:45 p.m. Sunday. Briones said Rafols held various positions in the different government and private hospitals in Cebu City, including as chairman of the Department of Surgery at Velez General Hospital.
“He had been in medical missions in Masbate, Camotes Island, Bantayan Island and other areas organized by the College of Surgeons. Whenever we talk about helping the poor sick people, he would always support,” Briones said.
According to Briones, he was touched by the speech of Rafols’ wife and his daughter Isabella, 26.
Briones said Elaine talked about how jolly a person her husband was.
Briones said Isabella talked about the good advice she always got from her father.
Pope’s legal counsel also attended Rafols’ burial ceremonies.
Lawyer Froilan Quijano Jr. said, “I am here as a friend of the late Atty. (Jubian) Achas and my business with John Pope stopped when he died.”
Achas was Rafols’ legal counsel in the doctor’s cases against Pope.
Achas’ wife refused to be interviewed. However, she openly thanked all the people who sympathized with them and offered their prayers.
Quijano confirmed to Sun.star Cebu that the ashes of Pope were turned over to a woman whom he believes is a close friend of his client. (RSB/EOB/With JRB/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 28, 2013.