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Doctor who brought Cris Mendez to VMMC surfaces

October 1, 2007 7:16pm
The physician who brought alleged hazing victim Cris Anthony Mendez to A hospital finally surfaced at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Monday afternoon.

Dr. Francisco Cruz, however, refused to talk with the reporters. He is the assistant chief of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center ophthalmology department.

His lawyer, Norberto Malit, accompanied him to the NBI and spoke on his behalf.

Malit said Cruz's son, Mico, a first year law student of the University of the Philippines (UP) and a member of the Sigma Rho, was among those who brought the unconscious Mendez to their house in Congressional Avenue, Quezon City.

"Dr. Cruz was informed that it was a case of mauling. He checked on his (Mendez) vital signs and decided that there is a need to bring Mendez to the hospital. Mendez died on August 27," the lawyer, who was hired last Thursday, said.

Malit said his client only found out the gravity of the victim's injuries upon reaching the hospital.

"Usually in a simple case of mauling, the victim bore injuries in the face but in Mendez's case, he has injuries on his knees, thighs and arms. But we cannot tell yet if there was an initiation," he said.

He added Mico is only a new member who has no privilege to participate in initiation.

"I have to talk to his son first. Kawawa naman ang doctor and he was wrongly advised by his first lawyer. I told him to come out, mababaon talaga siya," the lawyer said.

Lawyer Romulo Asis, chief of the NBI Anti-Terrorism Division (ATD), declined to discuss the contents of Dr. Cruz's statement.

"May follow-up. Antayin muna natin pag okay na," he said, adding they would no longer file obstruction of justice charges against Dr. Francisco.

According to the statements of the employees of the St. Peter's Funeral Parlor, Dr. Cruz was the one who authorized the transfer of the Mendez's body from the VMMC to the funeral parlor.

ATD investigators believe that Cruz's statement will be a key in establishing the truth behind the death of Mendez.

"We need him to tell us how Mendez came to be in his company," said Asis.

"We need to know whatever he knows about how Mendez came to be in the state he was in when he was brought to the hospital. We also need to know the identities of the people who he was with as they might also have information vital to the investigation," Asis earlier said.

Mendez was allegedly a neophyte of Sigma Rho fraternity undergoing initiation when the incident happened.

He was brought the VMMC on August 27 by Dr. Cruz and several unidentified persons. Mendez was pronounced dead on arrival. Doctors noted several hematoma on the victim's wrists, thighs and feet.

Based on the investigation of the NBI ATD, on August 27 before Mendez was brought to the VMMC, he was seen in a compound at Bonifacio Village, Quezon City along with several other young men. - GMANews.TV
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