Quantcast
Latest Stories

Gold miner says he didn’t betray Siman

Habitan bares partnership, calls Marantan ‘enemy’

By

JOSE PANGANIBAN, Camarines Norte—Gold miner Ronnie Basar Habitan on Saturday denied that he called Supt. Hansel Marantan to inform him about the visit of Victor Siman and his group hours before they were killed by a joint police-military team at a checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon province, on Jan. 6.

Habitan also said Siman was not carrying P5 million that reportedly came from him when Siman and his companions were killed at the checkpoint.

He said there were only 12 men in the group, including Siman. So who was the 13th man who was slain in Atimonan?

Habitan, 37, told the Inquirer in an interview in his home here that he could not have called Marantan, the ground commander of the Atimonan operation, because he could never be friends with someone whom he claimed had extorted P1.5 million from him, and because he did not know the phone number of the police officer.

In an interview with the Inquirer in his room at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City on Jan. 15, Marantan said he did not know that Siman was in the group of armed men whose movement police were monitoring until the last few hours before the clash in Atimonan.

Marantan said an informant tipped him off to the movement of the group, but “there was no mention of Vic Siman.”

He said it was only three hours before the clash that Habitan gave him the information that Siman was traveling with the group.

Business partners

But Habitan said he had no reason to “betray” Siman because they, together with Supt. Alfredo Consemino, were putting up a new security agency that was supposed to start operating this month.

Siman and 12 others were killed by police and Army soldiers at a checkpoint along Maharlika Highway in Barangay Lumutan in Atimonan in a supposed fire fight that lasted about 20 minutes.

Police reported the clash as a shootout, but families of the slain men claimed the victims were summarily executed.

President Aquino ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate and find out what really happened.

Habitan admitted that he knew Siman ran an illegal gambling operation, and said that Siman had offered him a stake in his illegal business.

Habitan said he refused and told Siman that he was not interested in any illegal business, as he wanted to stay clean and work hard to make a fortune.

He said he had nothing until he hit the jackpot in small-scale gold mining two years ago.

Wearing a large gold necklace around his neck and tucking a pistol with a golden grip, which he stressed was licensed, Habitan said he worked as bagger in a bakery and household helper before becoming a “high-grade” miner.

‘He’s my enemy’

As for Marantan, Habitan said in Filipino: “I met him only once, when he held us up. He is my enemy.”

He said the incident happened in Candelaria, Quezon, on Oct. 4, 2011. Policemen flagged down his car and he said he and his companions were detained after the cops found his licensed gun, a Jericho 9mm pistol.

Habitan said they were taken to the office of Marantan where he saw on a blackboard a sketch of his route, with the places where he might pass marked. Somebody hastily erased the blackboard when they came in.

He said Marantan asked for money and he did not hesitate to come across because he feared for his life. He said two of Marantan’s men accompanied him to withdraw P1.5 million from his Banco de Oro account.

Habitan said he was angered because Marantan, after taking his money, brought illegal firearm charges against him in the provincial prosecutor’s office in Lucena City.

 

Case dismissed

The case was dismissed for lack of probable cause, he said, citing a resolution dated Dec. 13, 2011, written by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Ma. Nalyn C. Jabat-Mesa and approved by Provincial Prosecutor Dione V. Bustonera.

Habitan said he was planning to bring charges against Marantan for what the policeman did to him in Candelaria.

Habitan said he met Siman, whom he called “Boss Vic,” three months ago through common acquaintances in the military. They became friends and decided to become business partners in a security agency, named New Marc Security Agency, which he (Habitan) bought in November from a Capt. Mario S. Braza for P3.3 million.

Friends and partners

Habitan said he got to know Siman’s family over the last three months. He said he had visited Siman in his home in Laguna.

When Siman came to see him here on Jan. 6, he said, he gave him a gift, a gold lighter that he himself crafted. It was worth P500,000.

To prove his partnership with Siman, Habitan showed to the Inquirer the organizational chart of New Marc Security Agency.  The chart showed Habitan as the company’s president, with Siman as vice president. Consemino was general manager; Maximo M. Pelayo, finance manager; Melanie Boral, corporate secretary; and lawyer Michael Pajarillo, legal consultant.

In the new profile and proposal for the security agency that would be named Golden Nor Security Agency Inc., Habitan was president and Siman, vice president.

Consultants for operations directly under Siman were Mario S. Braza and Consemino. Paul A. Quiohilag was the general manager directly under Habitan and Siman.

Of those listed on the two charts, Siman, Consemino, Pelayo and Quiohilag were among those killed in Atimonan.

Habitan said that during their meeting on Jan. 6, Siman submitted a budget proposal of P4.6 million for the operation of the new security agency from January to March this year.

No P5 million

He said he told Siman that he would have his lawyer go over the proposal and he would bring the money to Laguna when the budget was approved.

“I did not give them money,” Habitan said, belying reports that Siman was carrying P5 million when his group was halted at the security checkpoint in Atimonan.

Habitan said he left the running of the security agency to Siman because “that was his expertise, while mine is mining.”

He said that before Jan. 6, Siman visited him twice in his house in Barangay Plaridel here and that Siman bought from him a kilo of gold worth P2.5 million.

Except for a security guard at the gate, Habitan’s two-story house does not stand out among the houses along a narrow street near the town center.

Habitan, who operates a gold processing plant and finances small-scale mining operations, brushed off speculation that the shooting of Siman had something to do with a double cross involving gold trading.

“That’s not true. Boss Vic was very good to me and his family, too,” he said.

Habitan said Siman and his companions arrived at his place in two vehicles, both of which were later raked with gunfire in Atimonan.

Only 12

According to Habitan, only 12 people were in the group, including Siman.

He said he shook hands with all the 12 before they left at about 12 noon on Jan. 6 so he was puzzled at reports that 13 were killed in the Atimonan incident.

Habitan said he did not know where Siman and his companions had been before they came to see him. But Siman called him the day before to say that he would arrive at 8 in the morning the next day.

But Siman’s group arrived early, at around 6:30 a.m., Habitan said.

His guests left after lunch.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Atimonan 13 , Atimonan town , gold mining , Hansel Marantan , Maharlika Highway , Mining , Quezon Province , St. Lukes Medical Center , Supt. Alfredo Consemino , Victon Siman




Copyright © 2014, .
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
Advertisement
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen
  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement