NCMH chief, driver shot dead in Quezon City ambush


Two men, including a hospital official, were shot dead  in an ambush in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City on Monday, police said.

The bodies of the two victims were found inside a red Toyota Vios that police spotted along Cassanova Drive corner Tandang Sora Avenue, according to an initial report from the Quezon City Police District Station 3.

QCPD Station 3 chief Police Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Gabriel said one of the victims was the chief of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), Dr. Roland Cortez.

Gabriel said the other victim was identified as his driver Ernesto Dela Cruz.

The victims bore gunshot wounds, the police said.

Initial probe showed that the suspects were two men riding a motorcycle.

Police are now looking into the incident.

The Department of Health has denounced the slay of Cortez, as it vowed to seek justice for the National Center for Mental Health chief who was shot dead Monday.

“The Department of Health is shocked and alarmed at the news of the ambush of National Center for Mental Health Medical Chief Dr. Roland L. Cortez, and his driver, Ernesto Dela Cruz that occurred this morning 27 July 2020,” the DOH said in a statement.

“The DOH family extends its deepest condolences to the families of Dr. Roland and Mr. Ernesto, and vows to pursue justice for their untimely deaths,” it said.

The Department also said it was denouncing all violent acts against health workers, especially “during these difficult times.”

The Department said it was also coordinating with the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit “to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Cortez, whom DOH said was a respected leader who treated his clients well, was ambushed by still unidentified assailants.

A police report said Cortez and his driver were in Tandang Sora Avenue when they were shot dead.

Cortez and the NCMH drew criticism in April after they were accused of covering up COVID-19 cases inside the institution.

He said last month that all of the employees with COVID-19 have already recovered and that there were zero active cases.

The NCMH is a special research training center and hospital licensed by the Department of Health and accredited by PhilHealth. It has an authorized bed capacity of 4,200 inpatients and served an average of 56,000 outpatients per year./Stacy Ang



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