Former Armed Forces Chief and Defense Secretary Angelo Tomas Reyes on Tuesday morning committed suicide by shooting himself in front of the grave of his mother at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.
He was 65.
A close friend of Reyes called the Philippine Daily Inquirer to break the news, while Colonel Boogie De Leon, a former administrative officer of Reyes when he was AFP chief, said Reyes was rushed to the Quirino Hospital at about 7:45 a.m. to revive him. Members of his family could not be reached for comment.
De Leon said that Reyes’s son Jett called him up to inform him of the incident.
Reyes, who earlier suffered a mild stroke before the congressional investigations on the alleged AFP financial irregularities, said he could not take anymore the smear campaign against his name and his family.
“Not my family,” he said.
Reyes, who loved his mother very much when she was still alive, earlier told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview that he would never do anything that would besmirch the name of “my good mother.”
In a press conference aired on radio and television, Health Secretary Enrique Ona confirmed Reyes has died from gunshot wound to the heart. He said Reyes was proclaimed dead on arrival at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Ona said the doctors tried to resuscitate Reyes who was brought to the hospital at 7:30 a.m. from Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City where he visited the grave of his mother.
Ona refused to say what caused the gunshot wounds and could not determine the kind of gun used, saying all these were under investigation.
He “was brought here to the emergency room, wala nang pulso at di na humihinga. Nilagyan ng tubo at nag-resuscitation, swero, binigyan ng gamot. But after 45 minutes, which means that at 8:32 a.m., talagang wala na (without pulse and not breathing. He was tubated and resuscitated, put on IV. But after 45 minutes, which means that at 8:32 a.m., he’s really gone)."
He had a gunshot wound to the heart and an external wound to the back.
Reyes, a graduate of Philippine Military Academy Class ’66, was AFP chief under President Joseph Estrada, and secretary of defense, interior and local government, and energy during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001 to 2003. He graduated as the class valedictorian in high school and was among the top ten graduates of the PMA.
He went on to obtain two masteral degrees, namely: Masters in Business Administration from Asian Institute of Management in 1973 and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1991. He also took up International Defense Management Course in Monterey, California in 1983.
In 1987, he graduated No. 1 in Trust Operations Management Course conducted by the Trust Institutes Foundation of the Philippines at the Ateneo Business School which eventually earned him a scholarship to the Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.