Doc. Jaja: A Tribute To A Great Loss

by Meliza Carla T. Agoilo, MD

"You’ll never know when your time will come, so live life to the fullest. Smile and be happy!”, an advise you would often hear from Doc Jaja when a family, a friend, a colleague, and even his patients needed one.


“Doc Jaja” as he is known to many, Shahid M. Sinolinding, MD was born December 2, 1979 at Arakan, North Cotabato. He is the youngest amongst the siblings, a father of 3, a very good friend to many, and a true philanthropist.

Growing up, he always had a passion for learning and striving to be the best at what he does. In 2001, he was a top-notcher in Physical Therapy Licensure Board Examination. As Marc dela Cruz, a classmate in Physical Therapy said, “It seemed like it was only yesterday when we were in PT school that you would talk about getting the best resources, like best books, best education, best teachers, because you wanted to be the best; and I thought it was all for you at first, but it was so that you would be of best help to your community”.

True to his commitment to serving his people, he finished his medical degree at Xavier University Cagayan de Oro in 2005 with an outstanding performance. He went on with his residency training in Ophthalmology at the Southern Philippines Medical Center following the footsteps of his older brother, also a dedicated ophthalmologist and public servant, Dr. Kadil “Jojo” Sinolinding Jr., DPBO, DOH Secretary, ARMM.

Committed to serving the poor people most especially his community, he participated in several medical outreach activities with other doctors until he was known to many as the “Ophthalmologist of the People”. He started serving Mindanao, particularly troubled and isolated places where rarely a doctor dared to serve. Prior to his death, he visited the island municipality of Pangutaran of Sulu and Sibuto of Tawi-tawi and the ASG influenced towns of Sulu, and Lamitan, Basilan rendering free Ophthalmic consultations and surgeries.

“It seemed like it was only yesterday when you were always so concerned about my safety... teaching me how to use a gun and gearing up my car... I just really wish you considered yours. It was just like yesterday you offered me "kape, kape, kape," now, every cup will always remind me of your friendship. There are a lot of people we meet in a lifetime, but very few leave a mark.... which makes your passing very hard to just live life and move on” ---- Dr Irecson Casteel, Orthopedic Surgeon, brother, friend.

Tragically it was his yearning to reach out to those most in need that would ultimately cost him his life, gunned down at their clinic, while he was checking up his patients. He died on the spot on April 18th, 2017.

In his “Kanduli”, a celebratory feast in Islam for remembering the dead, his family and loved ones, colleagues and friends from all over the country, brothers and sisters in Islam, his patients and all others whom he had met and helped, gathered together and paid tribute to a great loss. For them he was a ”true hero” who had led an intensely rich and packed life.

In an emotional statement, his brother Dr. “Jojo” Sinolinding said: “I could not remember the last time I cried…. Until Jaja’s death” adding “he is a great loss not only to our family but to his people especially to those who needed him the most”. He also admired his brother’s commitment to make whatever difference he could.

The family and fellow health workers continually seek justice for Doc Jaja  and for the endless crime committed against doctors and health workers, and educators of Cotabato and Mindanao.



“It seemed like it was only yesterday when I saw your trademark smile from one ear to the other... that i will always look for and that i will always miss...”
-- Dr. Tisha Margaret Casteel, pediatrician, friend.

“It seemed like it was only yesterday when I had my eyes checked at SPMC. I was shocked that in front was Jaja, hahaha... si Doc. Jaja.  He joked that I had been peeping too much kaya nagka sore eyes ako.  We talked about our batch and a reunion in the making which me and Mcmyr were cooking up.  Pero, to our disappointment, hindi nangyari.  A week after, I came back for my check up; but he was in the OR.  After the long wait though, he came out and attended still to his patients who waited for him, including me.  Though he was tired, he still attended to his patients. He is a friend we all will miss, and we will not forgive the man who murdered him. But he wouldn't like us with all the hatred.  If he was alive, he'd say to all of us "hayaan mo na yan... move on lang tayo."  Words that I always hear from him during our college days.  He is a forgiving and caring buddy. We will miss you Ja”
-- Edsel Dolores, PT classmate.

"Your memories will remain in our eyes. Rock n Roll."
--Joseph Michael Labradores

“It seemed like it was only yesterday when we talked about nothing to everything, texting everyday, eating everywhere, enjoying cars and practical shooting, going to missions, making each other a routine.... suddenly changed. The silence is deafening, everyday is wishing you were still here, wanting to hear you laugh, wishing we can still talk about nothing to everything. We still have missions to do, patients to heal, outings planned, dreams almost within our reach. Life is suddenly silent... and although you said to "live life and let go," it is very hard to do, bro”
--- Dr. Edwin John Limjuco, Anesthesiologist, brother, bestfriend




About The Author

Dr. Meliza Carla T. Agoilo, MD , Graduate of Southern Philippines Medical Center- Davao Regional Medical Center Ophthalmology Residency Extension Training Program