PSG officer found dead in Malacañang Park

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The Presidential Security Group (PSG) confirmed that Major Harim Gonzaga, a 37-year-old officer, was found dead due to a gunshot wound in Malacañang Park on Tuesday, September 26.

Gonzaga's lifeless body was discovered by his wife, who is a sergeant in the security force, in his quarters located in Malacañang Park, Manila, at around 8:50 am on Tuesday.

The officer was seen with a gunshot wound in his chest area.

The PSG said Gonzaga was married and a father of two, as the PSG sent its condolences to the officer's family and friends.

According to Brigadier General Lope Dagoy, head of the PSG, there were no initial signs of foul play or any indication of a struggle, but police were still investigating.

The incident took place far from President Rodrigo Duterte's residence inside the compound, Dagoy said. He said even other members of the PSG were unaware of the shooting until Gonzaga's wife found the body.

The wife reportedly said she and Gonzaga were not facing any problems apart from the latter’s heavy workload, Dagoy told reporters.

Gonzaga was in charge of the security force's operations and was not one of the president's personal guards, he added. 

The PSG said it "does not want to speculate" on the cause of Gonzaga's death. 

It said it "will wait for the official findings" of the Scene of the Crime Operatives, as it respects the privacy of Gonzaga's family.

In a press briefing earlier on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella also said the circumstances of the incident have yet to be determined.

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

He also said he has no information on where President Rodrigo Duterte was when the incident happened.  with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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