Duterte security aide found dead in Malacañang complex

MANILA (Updated) -- A 37-year-old member of the President Security Group (PSG) was found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest in his office at the Malacañang Park, Tuesday morning, an official said.

PSG chief Brigadier General Louie Dagoy said the lifeless body of Major Harim Gonzaga was discovered by his wife, Shiela, around 8:50 a.m.

Gonzaga's wife, who is a member of Presidential Escorts, directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to dispatch a team of Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) at the scene of the incident, said Dagoy.

"She found her husband lying dead and immediately upon knowledge to the information, she immediately directed the PNP, under PSG, to call for SOCO to conduct the immediate investigation on the cause of the incident," the PSG chief told Palace reporters.

Dagoy said a Norinco .45 caliber pistol reportedly owned by Gonzaga was recovered near his body.

He added that there was "no sign of struggle" when the PSG officer's body was found lying inside his office.

Gonzaga's body was brought to Archangel Funeral Homes in Manila.

The PSG commander said they refuse to speculate the cause of death while the SOCO investigation is ongoing. He said they are not discounting the possibility that Gonzaga accidentally shot himself.

"We really cannot speculate. It's difficult to say that it's a suicide when we do not have all the data to conclude. It can also be an accident but we live it up to SOCO," he added.

Dagoy said Gonzaga's wife has said that the PSG officer had been complaining about his "workload" prior to the incident.

"I asked [Gonzaga's wife], 'Is there a problem?' She said, 'None, sir. He's just saying that he has bunch of workloads.' That's normal because you're a PSG member. I don't think it's a reason for him to you know, take his life. Para lang sa trabaho. I really do not know," Dagoy said.

PSG spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aquino, in a statement, said PSG expressed grief and deepest condolences to Gonzaga's family.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Gonzaga's death is a cause for concern but the nature of the situation needs to be clarified.

"It's a matter of concern however we need to clarify what exactly was it all about. We don't know the exact nature of the incident. We need to be able to find out exactly what it was," Abella said.

The PSG is the agency task with providing security to President Rodrigo Duterte. (With ABC/SunStar Philippines)
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