Army lawyer denies ‘uniformed soldier’ killed Lontok


RESIDENTS of Dolores town in Quezon join the funeral march for environmentalist Tirso Lontok Jr., who was among those killed in Atimonan on Jan. 6. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

LUCENA CITY, Philippines–The lawyer of Army soldiers in the controversial Atimonan shooting incident on January 6 strongly refuted the supposed personal account of two eyewitnesses, who pointed to an unidentified man in “soldier’s uniform” as the one who allegedly shot Tirso Lontok Jr. while the environmentalist was raising his arms, apparently an act of surrendering himself to authorities.

“The testimonies of the witnesses are not true. There were no soldiers near the vehicle. The checkpoint was being manned by policemen because it was a police operation,” lawyer Crisanto Buela, said in a phone interview on Friday.

Buela said the Army soldiers, members of the First Special Forces Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel Monico Abang, were posted some distance away from the checkpoint because they were only acting as a support group to the policemen.

“The cops were the ones who flagged down the vehicles and not one of the soldiers,” Buela said.

Buela insisted that the checkpoint was a legitimate police operation against the 13 men onboard the two sports utility vehicles flagged down at the checkpoint.

On Thursday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed the report that Lontok and another victim stepped out of the second Montero vehicle with arms raised but were still shot by a “uniformed soldier with rifle and a civilian with handgun” manning the checkpoint.

Lontok’s body, which bore a total of 14 gunshot wounds, was found in a roadside ditch, where it had rolled after he was shot, according to a police report.

De Lima’s confirmation only added more grief to Lontok’s family and friend.

“It only confirmed our theory that what had happened was not a shootout but a massacre. Kuya Jun and his company were mercilessly killed. We demand justice for all of them,” Ariel Saliva, Lontok’s cousin, told the Inquirer.

Saliva and some members of the Lontok clan on Thursday traveled all the way from Dolores, Quezon at the foot of Mount Banahaw to watch the reenactment of the shooting conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Lumutan, Atimonan.

During the reenactment, Saliva and his relatives were spotted silently watching the proceedings in the company of media people, who were behind the cordon placed around the encounter site by police and NBI agents.

Manny Calayag, Lontok’s best friend, shook his head in utter disgust and pity for his former comrade in Mount Banahaw protection advocacy.

“He already raised his hands but why was he still gunned down?” Calayag said.

He branded the unidentified soldier at the checkpoint who shot his friend as a “law enforcer and executioner at the same time.”

“Jun was not even spared the chance to defend himself and tell his would-be killer that he has done nothing wrong or unlawful. Instead, he was peppered with 14 bullets that snapped the life of my bosom buddy,” Calayag said.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • PCD_2012

    Atty. Bella, Ama u Lawyer or Ama u Liar?


    Problema nyan kung yang lumutang na witnesses eh planted din nina Marantan just to muddle the investigation more and as usual kagaya ng mga similar cases na ganito, these witnesses will just recant their testimonies

    • legnasagra

      bright opinio, that’s possible

    • magiting78

      Hmmm possible…then pagdating s korte dismiss ang case for lack of evidence..laya n cla….hnd cla pwd kasuhan ulit because of double jeopardy….nice observation…then pakana pala ni Pacquito Diaz…este Pacquito Ochoa….lolz

      • SAMMY

        Mismo! Then dismissed ang kaso on technicalities lang not on merits kasi wala ng tetisgo pa eh puro umatras na sasabihin lang napilitan, pinilit, kinulit, tinorture, ginamit para idawit ang mga sabit etc….same old script ang mga pangyayari

      • magiting78

        So dapat magi maingat ang DOJ at NBI d2 baka pain lng tong testigo nila….pero mukhang tumalon agad c Delila este Delima…jump into conclusion agad….dapat hire sila 3rd party invistigator like FBI or other investigating agency

  • Nani

    Dapat NPA ang mag-investigate ng kasong ito para walang biases, at para lumabas ang katotohanan.

  • dodong1

    Amu you could be a good lawyer but not a good LIAR!!

  • Darwin

    This lawyer provides statements as if she is also there when it happened.

  • Rex_Ranhilio

    the shooter was wearing a “soldier’s uniform”. a camouflage uniform perhaps?

    if so, then it may have been a soldier, or a policeman because the pnp also issues camouflage uniforms to its members.

    but an ordinary layman might not be able to distinguish between the military’s uniform from that of the pnp’s. and the shooter might not have been a member of the military or pnp, but somebody who just happened to be wearing a “soldier’s uniform” at that time.

  • legnasagra

    Lawyers usually hate the truth. That’s because their livelihood is derived from distorted facts.

  • jerico

    Torne, medyo malabo yata sinasabi mo..ibig mo bang paniwalain kami..teka d yata pwedeng kami…cge..yung mga tanga na lng..k na! Ibig mo bang paniwalain ang mga tanga (mukhang d cla maniniwala) na nglaro lng ng baril – barilan ung mga sundalo.100% na nagpaputok sila…mabilis silang umilag kaya walang tinamaan sa kanila…ganun.Naunahan kyo ng mga pulis makaisip ng palusot..sila sa malacanang nagtututuro..kyo nman nagpunta dun para mg sight seeing.


    The standing body of Lontok was holed with 14 bullets. Sobra naman ang galit ng mga bumaril sa kanya. Maaring legal ang operation ‘ratatat’ pero siguradong illegal na gawing 14 beses target practice ang katawan ng tao. May buhay din naman siya na dapat isa alang alang. Isang bala lang ‘to disable’ huwag naman yong siguraduhing hindi na talaga mabubuhay magpa kailanman.  

  • indiosbravos2002

    300+ bullets in less than 30 secs of gunfire. San kaya nanggaling yon kung di nakisali yong mga soldiers. The foot soldiers should come clean. They are the least guilty in my book. Pag-inorder sila sa field na bumaril, wala nang tanungan yan. Yan ang training nila. Pagdi sumunod, treason yan at court martial sila. Ang dapat sampahan ng murder ay yong mga opisyal tinyente pataas. Ang pagprotect nila sa mga opisyales ang didiin sa kanila sa kulungan.


      Treason, court martial pag hindi nagpa putok ng baril ? What the hell are you talking about ! There’s nothing mentioned like that in the book. It is traditional INSTINC for seasoned soldier to fire his gun when shooting starts. That is to save their life from enemy fire. Court martial…… eeewwwwww….. never heard !  

      • indiosbravos2002

        Anong TRADITIONAL instinct sinasabi mo. HEHEHE. Pano naging traditional ang nstinct? Adik ka ba? Para makahirit lang…..? Saka anong book sinasabi mo?

        Court martial yan kasi direct insubordination ang di magpaputok pag inorder ka ng ranking officer mo. Lalo na sa field. Walang tanong tanong ang foot soldier. Ano ka ba? Lahat ng tao alam yan.

      • ARIKUTIK

        You got me there but not totally maimed. Here’s a field scenario that happens everytime a neophyte reports in front line of battle field. As the shooting starts the neophyte curls down the deepest corner of his foxhole crying for his life with out firing a single shot. You see, the virgin soldier did not fire his gun but never will ever be court martialed. None in history of battle field. He will be kicked around as cry baby endangering the lives of fellow soldier. So he learns that sulking wet with tears will not make the enemy running for cover  but will keep on firing towards his tear filled foxhole. Only the bullets that comes out of the barrel of his gun can save dear life. Finally it becomes a Tradition born out of Instinc dubbed as > Traditional Instinc……. weeeeeeeee …………..

  • superlucky2

    Crisanto Buela, cige pagtakpan mo ang mga suwael na sundalo. Natural, iyan sa mga abogado na todo pag-depensa sa mga mali.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Mahina kalibre nong lawyer. Pasang awa siguro sa BAR yan.
    Anong gustong palabasin nya? Wala sa scene of the crime yang mga tao nya? Hehehe. Kung di man sila nagpaputok, accesories to the crime sila. I think ang gusto ning lawyer magng witness mga bata nya. Dehin tsong. Nakahanap na ng witness NBI

  • boybakal

    Army lawyer denies ‘uniformed soldier’ killed Lontok…

    Then who?
    The probability is ….the uniformed soldier was not in the crime scene.
    Maybe Vic Siman and co. did the killing.

  • opinyonlangpo

    The reenactment shows its Marantan killing Lontok, seems the media is now being used to confuse the public. I will not be surprised if these accused killers will show proof that they are out of the country at the time of the ambush. The wheels of justice in the Philippines favors the influential ones and maybe the next time you see them, they will be sitting in the senate.

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    Itong lawyer na ito siguro ang mark nito sa subject nila na LYING 101 ay perfect! your clients’ words against two witnesses na mga sibilyan sino ang kapani-paniwala? pulis at sundalo paniniwalaan mo? meron din iilan at siguro mabibilang mo sa daliri ang matino!

  • Gerry

    misleading heading “Army lawyer” vs “The lawyer of Army soldiers” connotes two very different impressions, the first implies the ARMY as an institution. 


    thats the lawyers job to defend his client; kahit totoong guilty, an accused should have somebody to defend him thats how it works in the rule of law

  • Fred

    Sana may isang sundalo na makonsyensya at magsabi ng tutuong nangyari.

  • boybakal

    Army lawyer denies ‘uniformed soldier’ killed LONTOK…

    Kung ganoon sino ang Bumaril kay LONTOK…Tinamaan kayo ng LINTEK !!!!!

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos