Military witnesses won’t change findings, says NBI

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A member of the NBI fornensic team examines one of the bullet riddled SUV at the Municipal Police Station in Atimonan, Quezon where 13 people were killed in an alleged ‘shootout’ with police and military at a checkpoint last January 6.INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

MANILA, Philippines–Whatever the military’s witness says, it will not affect the National Bureau of Investigation’s finding that the killings of 13 people in Atimonan, Quezon province, on January 6 were not the results of a shootout between government security forces and alleged criminals, an NBI official said Saturday.

Crisanto Buela, a lawyer for the Army soldiers, who, along with police officers from Southern Luzon, are facing investigation for the killings, told reporters Friday that the military has a witness who will prove that what happened was a shootout.

But Vicente de Guzman, NBI deputy director for Metro Manila, said Saturday that whatever the military’s witness says will not change the NBI’s finding that whatever it was that happened in Atimonan, it was not a shootout.

De Guzman said the government’s two witnesses who described to NBI investigators the events of Jan. 6 were “very credible and their statements were corroborated” by other evidence.

“The witnesses came forward, were credible, and had no reason to lie,” De Guzman said.

He added that the reenactment on Thursday of the supposed gun battle in Atimonan validated the witnesses’ statements and recollection of the event.

“These people fear for their lives, anyone who witnessed [the] carnage will never forget it,” De Guzman said.

The Department of Justice has placed the two men on the government’s witness protection program.

De Guzman said the investigators were just waiting for the completion of the results of ballistic tests on the firearms submitted by the soldiers and policemen involved in the killings of the 13 alleged criminals, including Victor “Vic” Siman, alleged operator of the numbers racket “jueteng” in provinces south of Manila.

After the ballistic tests, the NBI should be ready to submit a report to President Aquino, who had ordered the bureau to find out what really happened in Atimonan because of accusations from the relatives of those killed that the victims had been summarily executed.

Malacañang on Saturday said the President expected to receive the report by Wednesday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in a radio interview said Aquino wanted to see the report before leaving for Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday night.

Valte said the Philippine National Police submitted its own report to the President earlier this week, but the NBI was the agency that had been directed to investigate and determine what really happened in Atimonan.

On Thursday, after a reenactment of the events of Jan. 6, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that what happened was “definitely not a shootout.”

Valte said the NBI report would guide the government in deciding what really happened in Atimonan and who would be held accountable. (With a report from Michael Lim Ubac)

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

  • popeyee

    Yon naman pala, may findings na ang NBI so bakit pagsasalitain pa ang mga sundalo? ano yan moro-moro na lang ang kulang?

  • Bansot

    Madam Valle , de Guzman of the NBI already disclosed the outcome of their investigation, so what report are you talking about? Are you concerned that other names may be exposed if this case continues, that’s why you’re so anxious to close it once and for all?

    • nakatutok

      wag nyo kalimutan ang corona impeachment…..ginamit ang DOJ, BIR, AMLC, Ombudsman, LRA at LIberal Party kasi baka mag tantrum ang hitad sa Malakanyang…

      • ARIKUTIK

        Nagta tantrum na ngayon ang hitad sa Malakanyang at Tiyak ipipilit ang nais niya kasi funded ng Presidential AOCC ang operasyon. May resibo ng 100,000.- si Maratatat hindi maikaila ng Malakanyang na nagbigay nga sila ng pera for operation Ratatat.

  • PlumberfromCanada

    sarado na isip ng taga NBI..sa pangunguna ng DOJ sec dakdak dilemma

  • richard ortega

    nagpagamit ang mga sundalo sa mga pulpol na pulis kaya dapat lang sila magdusa.

  • basilionisisa

    hearsay lang pala pagbabatayan ng NBI bakit pinatagal pa? who are these 2 NBI ‘volunteer’ witnesses, have they been checked out? bakit sila nandun, tyak ba na hindi sila kasama ng 2 cars, kung totoong nandun sila they must have seen ‘third’ car? bakit di sila tinatanong tungkol sa third car? At bakit ayaw pakinggan ng NBI ang witness ng army? pwede ba yon?

    Mr President, please be very careful in ‘accepting’ this final report from the NBI investigation, puro preempted, parang kulang. Big mistake ang pakikialam ni Sec De Lima.

    Please Mr President, with what’s happening, the people are losing trust in our Law Enforcers and worse, in our Justice Department. So please trust your own instinct and discretion after ALL facts are submitted from ALL sides. Leave no stone unturned.

  • richard ortega

    special action force vs NBI. i think the people who was killed was not dumb or stupid to fire a gun inside their vehicles against a line up soldiers and foolishman. (police)

    • puntoporpunto

      I was trying to point this out to everybody. If you were surrounded by a lot of soldiers and policemen, you know that you stand no chance against high powered assault rifles. Puzzling…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AX7A65HBPOATKIEDV77LOLRVUM Colokoy

    haha ang witness na sinasabi ni Delimma baka yong nakasakay sa 3rd car na kasama sa caravan ng sindikato? Pwede ba sila gawing witness sec? hala ka!

    • Bansot

      anything is possible under the sun especially in the Philippines

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KLPCCEL5ADIWVG7GICVNRNP3OA I Love This game

      BAKA?

  • gerry2000

    I’m familiar with the place where the massacre happened for i regularly travel to Bicol and vice-versa. A lot of trucks traveled along this highway at slow pace and some took time out and park their vehicle along the road. If I remembered it right, the government witnesses are from one of the trucks that was parked at the right side of the road facing north. Those two must have had a crystal clear sight of the carnage!

  • ARIKUTIK

    Ang nakapag tataka ay > Bakit Paktay lahat ang 13 malas na tao. Puno, siksikan yong SUV. Sa isang side lang puwedeng bumaril ang taga baril. Hindi puwedeng Both side of the car ay paputukan kasi baka sila sila (taga baril) ang mahagip ng bala. Kung ang bala ay galing sa kanan dapat yong pasaherong nasa kaliwa ay “Mild” lang ang tama dahil na protektahan ng kotse at ng katawan ng mga pasahero na nasa kanan. Bakit kaya wala talagang natirang buhay…. Siguro ng matapos ang ratrat sa kotse ay nag inspeksiyon kung may humihinga pa. Kesa naman maghirap pa yong may hininga ay mas mabuti pang papag pahingahin na lang. Tutal mama matay din lang kahit dalhin pa sa hospital. As in Paktay din on the way to hospital….. yeheyyyy…..

    • puntoporpunto

      Maganda ang analysis mo sa sitwasyon—napatawa mo ako sir. All of these are speculations until somebody from the RATRAT group comes out and tell the truth. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KLPCCEL5ADIWVG7GICVNRNP3OA I Love This game

    You don’t have to asked yourself why this killing happened….just looked at the personnel…

    Just like, why did Gen. Reyes did the unthinkable & you would know right away the answer….

    • ARIKUTIK

      I did looked up the smoking gun personnel… the poolish men of Maratatat including himself were Not in Uniform as in NO Nametags for identification. Anyone who hides an identity is surely prepared to do a horrible illegal acts of Policeman. That is a fact beyond reasonable doubt. Bakit walang ‘uniform with nametags’ yong mga pulis ni Maratatat ? Siguro alam nilang mag ratatat sila. Ganyan pala pag Presidential AOCC operation. Katakot pag bataan ng Presidente.

      • boldyak

        in the first place, marantan has no right to be there in a check point, he is a PAOCC intel agent….he is not in police operation, dito pa lamang alam mo na ang motibo…

    • ARIKUTIK

      Nagpa kamatay ba TALAGA si Gen. Reyes ? Meron bang Scientific Proof beyond reasonable doubt na katawan nya yong SINUNOG at nilibing AGAD. Isang bagay ang tiyak > ang kayamanan ni Gen. Reyes ay hindi nakanti, ewan ko sa katawan niya. Madali namang magpa Plastic surgery at mag enjoy somewhere in paradise island.

  • kontra_boohaya

    How unpofessional it is for the NBI to say that the AFP’s witness won’t change a lick when they should have welcomed it at least to shine light on both sides of the coin.  With that mindset, there is now astronger perception of railroading the investigation.  On the one hand, I can understand the NBI’s stand especially when the SF commander, Abang, claimed that the soldiers fired “warning shots” when they were fired upon first.  Halata naman kasi na nagpapalusot lang si Abang.  Yan tuloy immaterial na ang mga witnesses nila.  NBI knows too well about “producing credible witnesses.”

    • ARIKUTIK

      Ang gusto ng NBI ay gisahin si Maratatat at ang Army para lusot ang > PRESIDENTIAL AOCC na nag funding sa ratatat operation.

      • kontra_boohaya

        Aba…may punto ka.  You mean to say the NBI wants the buck to stop at Marantan and Aban?  Pero sa inbang banda naman e nangyari yan para mapalitan ang mga players o lords sa kanila bilang “pasalubong”.  Malalim to bok kaya kaya i sacrifice na lang mga el tikol!

  • parengtony

    Based on the early comments on this article it appears that  the PR budget for this project is quite substantial. 

  • Jim De Garman

    it is a one sided affair by NBI, soldiers too have rights to tell what was happened.. they were there, if nobody wants to believe then better to remove AFP and replace it with NBI agents, this is a dilemma report.

    • dodong1

      they are all guilty!!

    • JOSE RIZAL

       they don’t have rights. they are mechanical robots.

  • boybakal

    Soldiers were tricked by Marantan.
    They thought they were be involved in Military encounter and not Police Operation.
    They were made to believe that they will be fighting the Enemy of the State…NPAs.

    So it all boils down to who is the commander of that Army Battalion who did not distinguish who is  the Enemy of the State, Communist or Jueteng Operator.
    Lucky for the NPAs and Unlucky Jueteng 13.
    Matayaan nga ng pompiyang, para may pakinabang naman, 13 13.

    • puntoporpunto

      If indeed you are right, that the soldiers were tricked by Marantan, I think paninindigan na nila ang nangyari. Marami sa mga high ranking military ang masasagasaan. I hope lalabas ang katotohanan. If they didn’t do anything wrong, everybody involved in the alleged shootout should submit themselves to investigation. Kahit walang lawyer na katabi. Just tell the truth…period!!!

  • where_I_stand

    “…the military has a witness who will prove that what happened was a shootout.”

    It reminded me when I was held in the military camp, the military can always provide a witness to prove that we were armed militants.

    • ARIKUTIK

      Yong Army ay pinapunta doon sa Ambush area para kung ano man ang mangyari ay merong ‘Scape Goat’ na Army. Papayag naman kaya si Gen. Bautista sa style na ganyan. Presidential AOCC ang may pakana sa operation Ratatat. Merong resibo na funded by Presidential Office.

  • ARIKUTIK

    The DOJ declared, “Definitely Not a shootout” while the NBI concluded, “Not a shootout”, no matter what. Both agency are under the command of Malacanang including PAOCC. It is clear that Malacanang wants to stop the buck on Maratatat’s head and on the Army. Shielding Presidential AOCC from any involvement. Well, PAOCC which is under the special command of the President as the name implies PRESIDENTIAL AOC Commission had knowledge and funded the Ratatat operation.

    • kontra_boohaya

      Bok alam mo naman na “funding” is not the only criteria to make a hit a legit one.  Funding may come later on depending on the outcome, of course.  E hindi malinis, kaya deny to the max

  • http://enria.org/ scconcern

    In the first place the AFP/Military has no business in that operation, the operation is police matters.
    The military can not be relied on, because they are not independent minded and the soldier life are dependent to their officer for survival. If they go against their officer they lose their living…the soldiers have no choice, since they are HS grads and have no other skills. This is the reason behind abuses in AFP, worst example is Palparan autrocities and Martial Law brained by Enrile.
    Other ares of concern, why abuses in Police/Military exist are:
    1. Plutocratic form of governance, worst the kelptocrats are encourage.
    2. The elitist and dysfunctional judicial system that support Plutocracy. The citizenry should be involved in judging of cases, not to one bias and corruptible lawyer. The citizenry judging are made up of pluralistic profession/skilled with jugdgement based on written laws, common sense, logic, morallity, univesal ideals and compasionate punishment. THIS IS BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT and DEMOCRATIC.
    3. Congress should be purely legislative work only. NO PORK BARREL. They can support their constituent thru presentation of legislative projects to the house and included in the executive budget. All fund should accountable to the centavos.

  • titod

    Eh sino nga ba bumaril kay Ninoy ? Sana NBI na lang pina-imbestiga ni Marcos. Mabilis at Reliable pa !

    • puntoporpunto

      Kung NBI ka nung panahon ni Marcos at alam mo ang katotohanan tungkol sa pagkamatay ni Ninoy, are you going to tell the truth? Just asking…

  • julieboy

    Its amazing witnesses seeing 2 different things! Is that possible that one witness sees this while the other sees that.Or is it possible so just to confuse and muddle the investigation,witnesses are told to say otherwise.When lawyers get involve,everything will change.They have all the tactics to throw in the whole kitchen sink into the argument that the judge will eventually say,its not beyond reasonable doubt.Leave it to the lawyers wala mangyayari dyan..ANO BA ANG TOTOO!!!!!Wag na tayo mag bolahan,PLEASE!

  • Hey_Dudes

    Let’s be fair and objective.  Why not allow some benefit of the doubt to  both sides of the aisle.  To critics now saying AFP has no business helping out in police operations, if you will only try to recall, during GMA regime, the PNP organization was busy sending it’s personnel fighting the tulisans in the mountains in Mindanao while AFP conducts saturation drive in metro Manila specially in slum areas to flush out the criminals?  Baligtad noon.  All of us sounding out now and beating the drum of curiosity were not there when the incident occurred.  In fact, it is mind boggling that there are now witnesses coming out of the woods telling what they saw.  If these witnesses truly saw what they think they saw, shouldn’t they been more physically exposed to have prevented the incident in the first place.  How can a witness claim he or she saw the whole thing when he or she must have been hiding and trembling in total fear?

  • pilipino

    “Whatever the military’s witness says, it will not affect the National
    Bureau of Investigation’s finding that the killings of 13 people in
    Atimonan, Quezon province, on January 6 were not the results of a
    shootout between government security forces and alleged criminals, an
    NBI official said Saturday.”

    This is what I have been saying, the incident has been prejudged, and the NBI was sent to effect that so that the public ire will be diverted away from the PAOCC to avoid dragging down the Palace int o this mess.

    And besides, galit si Sec. Alcala dahil isa sa mga natumba ay kamag-anak niya(?), and the Palace cannot turn a blind eye on Sec. Alcala because he is one of the valuable, efffective, efficient performer and visionary cabinet secretary of the President at ayaw ni PNoy na magtampo sa kanya si Sec.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JVSEXTMANAEZGLOSZGWJYW67Q Jess

      Prejudged? What about premeditated, don’t you think about that? You should have joined Marantan carrry out those executions.

    • puntoporpunto

      The NBI is not there to “PREJUDGE” but merely to to get to the bottom of it. The NBI people are honorable and honest. They get training in the US of how to gather evidence, preserve  and present it to the court. A lot of them are lawyers, so they do their investigation, the right way. Let’s stop the blame game and focus on who is/are telling lies.

      Try to search P/Supt Marantan’s record. You will see how many shootouts he was involved to. And don’t forget to take note of the pattern of how the alleged shootout ended.

      • pilipino

        I have no problem with the evidence gathering, they’re good at it, except that they are only picking testimonies from one source or side, then after doing such, the NBI official said that whatever testimonies coming from the military and police side won’t change their conclusion. What kind of investigation is that?

        It’s either the NBI has prejudged the matter or, by design, they are gathering facts seemingly pointing culpability on the govt forces but intentionally taint them to hit 2 birds with one stone – deflecting public outrage away from PAOCC and the Palace, but ultimately pinning down Siman, et al once the final results are released which can be done much later after the State of the Nation address, when the dust of the elections will have settled already.

  • mad_as_Hamlet

    BY this time the AFP high command should have started the process that will lead to the court-martial of Lt. Col. Abang and the unit he supposedly led in the Atimonan Massacre.

    The fact alone that an officer of his rank supposedly led what appears to be a mere platoon-size contingent is suspicious.  And his remark that the unit merely fired in the air is facetious.  The least we can say as of now is that this Army officer is “bongacious”—-which is conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, a violation of the Articles of War.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GYYFBINDMTZHM6TDHPB667452M agustin

     Jueteng thrives in southern tagalog and other parts of the country because it is protected both by the police/military and the enemy of the state which is the NPA. both have the share of the jueteng money. it is time to educate our children now about the bad effects of jueteng and gambling.when they become adults at least the jueteng business have already diminished.

  • zidyay

    If I were the lawyer of the policemen and the military involved in this mass killings and I believed my clients violated no law and I have witness to support this stand, I will not spent a minute talking to the media. I will spent all my time with the NBI, the designated agency tasked to investigate and determine if the killing was not an ambush as claimed by relatives of the victims.

    They should willfully put themselves first under NBI inquiry and must show full cooperation for it to come out with the truth about the incident. They are talking of contradictory version of the events even before they have reported to NBI and have themselves subjected to questioning. To many observers what they are doing only proves they are guilty and at this early they  looking for ways to discredit the NBI.

    If the victims indeed were hardened criminals who shot at the authorities first when called upon to stop, the more the policemen and military should cooperate with the NBI  to show they respect the law as they had expected of  the victims. By not cooperating, they are disregarding the order of the President and established judicial procedures as they have disregarded the rights of those they massacred.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E5Q5PV6KNYNVSOCHXJVJPYUVFE cion

      Ask yourself, has ever this administration taken any responsibility for the atrocities that happened before ????? Hongkong incident (Medndoza)  too many to mention  It seems both the military and the PNP are on their own  ,How many times this adm disown if the incident will not favor them. Adm immediately disown “Op Armado” right after the shootout. its questionablle alright.

  • pinoypower

    Witnesses can lie as what happens in most cases but forensic evidences will prevail over them. The NBI with its motto Nobility, Bravery, Integrity will bring out the truth behind the Atimonan massacre. There were attempts by the PNP SOCO team to tamper the evidences on site but thanks to the intervention of NBI we might still prevent a cover-up of another ‘rubout or massacre.
    It should be SOP now that when PNP is involved NBI should investigate and when NBI si suspected the PNP should investigate so that cover-ups will be hard to perpetrate.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6DTNBPJJUJCPAJNKUH6PBC7UBE stoneridge

    wag nyo pakakawalan si Marantan, dapat ikulong sya ng habambuhay, marami pa syang papatayin sa labas, ang turing nya sa tao ay manok lang.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E5Q5PV6KNYNVSOCHXJVJPYUVFE cion

    Should we still trust this administration?????

    • puntoporpunto

      Of course we should. It’s not the administration. I think the right question should have been “Should we trust the police and the military”? From the Marcos up to the Aquino administration, the police and the military are getting better.,,IMHO.

  • puntoporpunto

    Should we still trust the SOCO? I haven’t heard in radio, tv and print media about investigating the SOCO. Maybe the government can find more leads from the SOCO people. They might have been coerced into tampering the crime scene???

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