For a DOH post? Suspected gunman congratulated prior to Ateneo incident

July 25, 2022 - 3:11 PM
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This composite photo shows physician shooter Chao Tiao Yumol on July 24, 2022 and the DOH Compound in Santa Cruz, Manila. (The Philippine Star/Michael Varcas; Judgefloro/Wikimedia Commons)

Weeks before the shooting incident at the Ateneo de Manila University, Facebook friends of the physician Chao Tiao Yumul or Yumol were posting congratulatory comments on his timeline.

They believed—without a clear basis—that Yumul was to become the new Health secretary of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Yumul is now under police custody as the suspected gunman in the shooting on campus. The gunman was reported to have open-fired during a graduation event and left three people, including former Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay, her aide Victor George Capistrano and Ateneo’s security guard Jeneven Bandiola dead.

Furigay’s daughter, Hannah, who was supposed to graduate from law school Sunday, and a bystander were injured and are recovering from the violence.

READ: 3 dead in Ateneo shooting | ‘He deserves to be named and recognized’: Filipinos mourn death of Ateneo guard

In a now edited post, a Facebook user posted a greeting tagging Yumul last July 8.

“Congrats Doc Chao-Tiao Yumol for being the newly appointed Secretary. Salute!” the post reads.

At around 7 p.m. yesterday, the night of the incident, Dumaguin edited the post, removing the “for being the newly appointed Secretary” as shown on its Facebook edit history.

Edit history of Jayson Dumaguin’s congratulatory post on Yumul’s alleged appointment. (Screenshot by Interaksyon via Chao Tiao Yumol’s Facebook account)

On July 5, Facebook page Maharlika, whose content is in staunch supports for the country’s newly elected president and his previous campaign, also posted on the gunman’s wall with the caption:

“Congratulations, Doc Chao-Tiao Yumol! Good luck!”

(Screenshot by Interaksyon via Chao Tiao Yumol’s Facebook account)

The owner of the page, which has over 923,000 followers on Facebook, also posted a live video on July 24, detailing her connection with the suspect along with her thoughts about the incident.

Another related page with the same user Binibining Maharlika also posted on Yumol’s Facebook profile:

“Congratulations, Doc Chao-Tiao Yumol. Yakang-yaka mo yan!” the post reads. 

(Screenshot by Interaksyon via Chao Tiao Yumol’s Facebook account)

On July 19, five days before the assassination, Yumol mentioned the health secretary position in a Facebook post in what could be a comment made in jest.

(Screenshot by Interaksyon via Chao Tiao Yumol’s Facebook account)

After his arrest, the shooter’s Facebook account briefly became inaccessible for a few hours. It was reactivated Sunday evening.

“Nakakatakot pala kung naging DOH Secretary ‘tong Doc Yumol na ‘to. Ang cringe pa ng mga posts niya,” a Twitter user said.

As of Monday, July 25, President Marcos Jr. has yet to announce his secretary for the Department of Health

On July 14, he named Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, who has served as spokesperson, as the officer-in-charge of the department while he takes time to choose the next head of the agency.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the president expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of the shooting, which happened a day before his first State of the Nation Address

“We commit our law enforcement agencies to thoroughly and swiftly investigate these killings and bring all involved to justice,” he added. 

RELATED: Marcos calls for swift probe into Ateneo shooting | Ateneo shooting: What we know about suspect Chao Tiao Yumul