De Lima says 3rd witness bolsters ‘no-shootout’ story



Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. FILE PHOTO

A third witness has surfaced to bolster the testimony of the two witnesses who earlier said that no shootout occurred in a Jan. 6 encounter in which government forces killed 13 members of an alleged criminal group at a checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

De Lima said the third witness was the third man in the truck that the two earlier witnesses were riding and which happened to be passing through the site of the incident at the exact time that the encounter occurred.

Like his two companions, the third witness said he saw members of the joint police and military team at the checkpoint firing at the people inside two SUVs in cold blood.

According to De Lima, there were three men inside the truck—the driver and helper who earlier went to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with their story, and their supervisor who gave his official statement to the NBI the other day.

‘Material, revealing’


De Lima described the third witness’ statement as “material” and “revealing.”

“So we now have three witnesses and this would further bolster (the no shootout claim) and thus, we will stand by our reenactment (of what happened that day),” she said.

De Lima said the NBI would not be able to submit its report on the investigation into the Atimonan 13 incident to President Aquino before he was to leave for Switzerland last night because it had not yet completed its investigation. She hoped the NBI report would be ready by the time Mr. Aquino returns home next week.

She said the NBI continued to follow information and leads and was not ready to wrap up its investigation. She said she had been told by NBI probers that the Atimonan incident was something that was “very deep.”

Meanwhile, De Lima wanted to know which one of the soldiers involved in the Atimonan encounter produced the witness, Rolando Vico, who claimed it was the victims who fired first at the lawmen manning the checkpoint and not the other way around.

Vico had also claimed he did not see the truck that whose three occupants claimed that no shootout had happened.

‘Good vantage point’


“If he is truly a witness, where was his location during the incident?” De Lima said, noting that the three witnesses who went to the NBI had a “good vantage point” of the incident because they were inside the truck.

Vico, an employee of a prawn hatchery located near where the incident occurred, was accompanied by Crisanto Buela, a lawyer for the military component of the checkpoint team, when he gave his statement to the NBI the other day.

He said he was standing at least 25 meters away when he saw a passenger from the first of the victims’ two cars firing at the lawmen manning the checkpoint.

According to Buela, Vico had also testified that he did not see a truck passing by the area around the time of the shooting.

However, a sketch submitted by Buela’s clients to the NBI showed a truck in the middle of the road between the two Monteros and the government forces.

Buela claimed that Vico had volunteered to come forward to “refute the testimony of the masked witnesses.”

“I saw a light come on inside the car and a policeman who was dressed in civilian clothes fall,” Vico said in his statement to the NBI.

No one in vehicle


He said he did not see anyone from inside the first car get out of the vehicle after the police-military contingent at the checkpoint ordered the passengers to get down from their vehicles.

Moments later, he said he heard a series of gunshots come out from inside the first car.

“’Come out, come out,’ the police-military ordered, but no one came down from the vehicle and suddenly someone from inside the car shot at the police in the checkpoint,” Vico said.

According to an NBI agent who did not want to be named, some of the details in Vico’s testimony actually “[corroborated] the other witnesses’ accounts.”

“He said the victims did not roll down their windows, which was also the statement of the earlier witnesses,” the agent said.

Vico also said he saw policemen, not soldiers, approaching the two vehicles, as the earlier witnesses said.

“I saw three policemen in civilian clothes and not soldiers going near the cars,” Vico testified.

He said he heard around three gunshots from inside the first of the victims’ vehicles and a man in civilian clothes being hit and falling and then the policemen and soldiers in the checkpoint shooting back at the two vehicles.

Vico said he did not fear for his life or that of his family’s, and that he had no plans of seeking government protection.

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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.

  • superpilipinas

    “Vico said he did not fear for his life or that of his family’s, and that he had no plans of seeking government protection.”

    He is “protected” by the other side.

    • $17848434

      Vico ingat, baka Buelahan, este bweltahan ka ni ‘torni buela!

    • diamond_digger

       . . . and might even be coerced and threatened with harm unless he cooperates. His statement is not only contrary to human nature but also indicative of having received some valuable considerations, including physical protection from the accused. Considering the presence of conspiracy involving others still in power, Vico may have just succumbed to the pressures.

    • ApoLapullapu

      The NBI is right.  It is very deep.  What is the possibility that the missing bags contained gold?  Gold kills.

  • Jaime

    let him go on the witness stand and then charge him with perjury.

  • Rovingmoron

    There’s no substitute for video footages. If the government has a way, it can also install surveillance cameras along the Maharlika Highway.

    • MrJoseRizal

      mananakaw lang po yun mga cameras pag along maharlika highway

      • $17848434

        Eh di maglagay din ng camera to monitor those cameras…LOL

      • levis2012

         Ang dami nang camera… makes me laugh…

      • 4KABUTIHANNGpinoy

        very funny talaga LoL parang erap jokes :)

    • farmerpo

       Baka police dashboard camera ang ibig ninyong sabihin bossing?

      • Rovingmoron

        Ang ibig sabihin ko if possible mag lagay ang DPWH ng hidden cameras on those electric posts along the Maharlika Highway and other highways. These are small camera gadgets whose zoom lens can cover far and wide.

      • Ike

        it would cost millions and millions of pesoses if not billion to put cameras in every electric post in every highway. And what if they set-up a checkpoint in a highway where there is no camera. Later on nanakawin lang yan ng mga dumadaan. A police dashboard camera is more practical since in every police operation, A visible police car is part of the standard operating procedure.

      • Rovingmoron

        Your proposition will entail double whammy to the government. Why? Mobile cars can’t patrol the whole stretch of the Maharlika Highway because it will cost too much gas. Besides, some cops are lazy. They just want to take a nap elsewhere. This is not to include the camera gadget that each mobile car will bear? What the DPWH do will be random. Not all electric posts will be installed with cameras. It will be selective and hidden when installed.

  • Rovingmoron

    One witness against three witnesses. Who do you think is more credible? The statements of one witness who was in the kangkungan or the statements of the three witnesses who were on the truck during the incident?

  • farmerpo


  • mad_as_Hamlet

    Atty. Buela might as well produce a thousand witnesses who can swear they didn’t see the truck.  There are millions, actually.

    Atty. Buela is engaged in the practice of  lawyering.  Not law.

  • Fred

    Ang susunod na caso ay perjury?
    who’s witness is telling a lie?

    • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

       3 witnesses corroborating each others testimony saying it was no shootout and roughly 10 meters away vs. 1 witness at 25 meters away who said he didnt see the truck where the 3 other witnesses were, but truck was present in a sketch they presented to NBI investigators.

      Well, no contest.

  • Mamang Pulis

    at habang nag dadaldalan —nak puesto na si marantan–tumatakas na.

  • kayanatwo


    nobody asked me, but….by the end of this month, the aforementioned shooting did not happened in atimonan, but somewhere in disneyland…. this is the series of story from the many side of the same story, phew.??????

    it could happen//////?????

  • diamond_digger

    For that witnessed surnamed Vico to declare he is not seeking government protection because he is not afraid is contrary to human nature. It also bolster the theory that he is coerced and or promised a lot of considerations including protection by the accused policemen and soldiers who stand to lose a lot of things even facing the prospects of imprisonment once proven to have summarily gunned down the 13 victims.

    If there is a way for both Cols. Marantan and Abang to be assigned to Mindanao, particularly to Basilan to utilize their “expertise” to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf, I am certain this witness named Vico will unceremoniously make a 180-degree-turn and retract his present declaration. He is obviously a coerced witness and will surely be exposed during the trial.

    • ApoLapullapu

      The physical evidence found by investigators in the scene appears never to corroborate the testimony of this Vico.  He is probably a coerced or paid witness.  His testimony will collapse under cross investigation.

      • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

         or is probably an agent of one of them.

      • diamond_digger

        You are right, Apo. In fact, this witnessed may not only be coerced and paid but also ‘manufactured’. In an intense cross-examination, a witness, real or coerced, will almost always crack under pressure. Remember the witness presented by then CJ Corona, who is herself a lawyer (the one in-charge of keeping the SALNs) even broke down and instead gave statements favoring the then prosecution. This lawyer named Buela may soon change his family name to Buelta.

  • padrefaura

    si de lima lang ata ang alam kong daldal ng daldal bago matapos ang imbestigasyon. 
    sana tapusin nya muna ang imbestigasyon bago sya magpuputak. 
    kaya naman laging talo sa kaso. puro pag-eepal ang inaatupag. 

    • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

       free press. lam mo na. para mabango ang pangalan.

    • delia kelly

      Agree ako sa yo. para din itong si Gonzales noon basta may camera sige ng sige.

  • junteddy m

    ha ha ha..Buela sinungaling!!!

  • F

    yes, marantan should be assigned in basilan, mindanao. he can probably neutralize the enemies there, but i believe he is scaredy cat. baka ma-circumsize pa si marantan doon.

  • dorothyanne88

    Filing of the case Madam secretary is long overdue. The Filipino people hankers to see that justice be served to the victims  and that the guilty be punished. A swift legal process can do a lot to improve the lost trust of the people on the gov’t. and you can do it since as everyone noticed, you are a woman of action.

    • delia kelly

      de Lima woman of action? Woman of publicity yun ang sabihin mo.

  • regd

    The military-poloce says they fired warning shots. Vico claims the victims fired first from the inside. Why would a person from the inside of a vulnerable position fired first towards a 50 man armed individuals?

  • commonjuan

    Kanino kayo maniniwala sa 1 taong nag witness pero hindi natatakot or sa 3 tao na nadelayed ung labas kc d sila interesadong lumabas kc ntatakot sa safety ng sarili nila at ng kanilang family… hmmmm common sense lang gagamitin dito e… hehehe

    • D3marketers

      Sino naman ang kakatakutan nya? Mukhang sagana sa Vitamin A lagi kinakain ng witness na to ah? 25meters tapos kitang kita nya ang tao sa loob ng SUV na nagpaputok .Paano nya nakita eh heavily tinted yong mga salamin ng dalawang Montero saka di naman ibinaba ang mga windows. Mukhang malaki ang butas ng ilong este ng testimony nitong Bico na to

      • commonjuan

        ewan ko lang dun kay vico kasi kung ako dun sa tatlong witness baka d ko ring balakin ang magwitness kc d mo klala kung cnu ang tutumba sau.. si vico kalmado lang eh bakit kaya?.. hehehe

  • wakats


  • wakats

    Sec. de Lima first presented 2 masked witnesses allegedly inside a nearby 10-wheeler truck parked about 6 meters behind the 2 monteros.  An additional passenger, the supervisor, was presented yesterday to corroborate the earlier testimonies of his 2 companions inside the truck, that there was no shootout, probably rubout.

    The military witness, Rolando Vico, standing about 25 meters from the 1st vehicle, testified that he saw a passenger in the 1st vehicle fired first that allegedly hit marantan – and the shooting ensued.  Vico also testified that he did not see any truck passing by in the area at the time of the shooting.

    This will be a battle royale between the Army and the DOJ-NBI… 

  • Cannabis

    “I saw three policemen in civilian clothes and not soldiers going near the cars,” Vico testified. – if they were on plain clothes and not in uniform, how did you learned that they were policemen? Ayan butas na ang consistency ng witness…

    • Komen To

      Maybe he is one of Maratrat’s cops who ambushed that’s why he categorically and confidently said that these men in civilian clothes are cops. Clear?

      • Cannabis

        ewan ko sayo…

  • Jen

    MGA ALLEGED NA NAMAN YAN.. GANYAN NAMAN TALAGA KUNG GUSTO MONG I SWAK SA BUTAS ANG ISANG TAO.. KUKUHA KA NG WITNESS NA SINASABI MGA ALLEGEDLY.. DI PA NAG UMPISA ANG HEARING PROPER EH PILIT ISAKSAK SA ISIPAN NG TAO NA MASAMA SILANG MGA PULIS AT SUNDALO… mga pare coy, wag nyo gamitin ang media at masang tao para paniwalaang totoo mga sinasabi ninyo.. mahiya naman kayo mga pare coy… me mga lapses sila dahil walang perpektong tao..lao na sa police operational procedures..pero di nangangahulugan na walang linabag ang mga nakasakay sa SUv.. kung tutuusin, the police officers complied with the rules set by the PNP operational procedures particularly on the conduct of checkpoint.. that was HIGH RISK CHECKPOINT..hindi LOW RISK CHECKPOINT.. pls research on this pare coy… para maunawaan mo trabaho ng lespu natin… hindi yung dakdakan jan.. pangiti ngiti pa sa harap ng camera… 

    • batangpaslit

      i concur

  • Albert Einstien

    IMBISTIGAHAN dapat ng NBI yan hachery ..mukhang HIDEOUT….lol….gustong white washin …….lol…..wag nyo payagan doj na lokohin ng mga sindikato at kkk ang publiko……pag iniligtas nyo mga yan…UULIT-ULITIN nila ang CARNAGE… : < (

  • batangpaslit

    if the initial news reports were true that the first burst of gunfire that hit Col Maratrat came from one of the three SUVs and the police force manning the checkpoint aided by Army elements returned fire, eh, talagang mapulbo ang kalaban dahil kulang sila sa firepower.
    of course, there is no sustained shootout since the group of Col Maratrat saw to it that the enemy is completely disabled from firing back.
    buang ang isang police or military commander na magbigay window of opportunity to be shoot at

    • F alonso

      Ewan ko bat dapat hinayin na malagasan ng buhay ang mga Pulis at sundalo to make the operation justified.Mga illegal na tao yung nabaril kasama yung kotong na pulis Col.

  • F alonso

    Dapat 4th witness din si Habitan.Mahalaga ang salaysay ng taong ito.

  • delia kelly

    I do not believe this so called eye witnesses . Puwedeng ba sa bilis ng mga pangyayari nabilang ng mga saksi ang barilan and swak na swak sa findings ng NBI? bakit ayaw nil ang imbestigahan Kung masasamang Tao ang mga. Napatay? Mukhang si Marantan ang sacrificial lamb ditto.


    meron na kasi kayong conclusion na nabuo kaya puro bias ang resulta ng mga hakahaka niyo :)

  • Komen To

    More questions to ask. How did he know that the persons in civilian clothes are policemen? So he was actually confirming that Maratrat men were not in police uniform violating the requirements of a checkpoint. He did not see a truck but he placed a truck in his sketch, wow what a magic

  • Dag Erickson

    Sec. de Lima,  please check the phone records on the phone used by Marantan when he alleged that – the miner is calling him on the whereabouts of Siman. Here is where we can tell who’s tellin’ a lie.  

  • disqusted0fu

    All talk. The same thing might happen with this case as that of the Stephanie Nicole’s where they said they already have the suspect in custody but never revealed the person and his identity. With all the lies and cover ups by our government these days it’s become hard to distinguish what’s true or not.

  • Tonypogi

    Heto ang sinasabi kong irresponsible reporting. Puro haka-haka at allegedly.  Puro putik na itinapon sa itaasang mga report na ito kaya kung babasahin mo ang mga comments, kanya-kanyang opinion ang nabubuo base sa mga putik na naiwan sa itaas.  Bakit hindi na lang base sa mga ebidensiya ang pag-usapan?  Tulad nito….

    1. 13 ang napatay matapos ang barilan,  Isa ang nasugatan sa mga miyembro ng checkpoint.
    2.  May clutchbag na nakunan ng litrato bago dumating ang SOCO.  Pagkarating nila wala na ang bag sa litrato o sa imbentaryo ng mga nalikom sa lugar ng patayan.
    3.  Walang baril sa kamay ng isang napatay noong kunan ito ng litrato bago dumating ang SOCO.  Sa litratong kinunan ng SOCO biglang nagkaroon ng baril malapit sa kamay nitong napatay.
    4.  Aminado ang lahat ng mga “nakakita” na ang mga pulis sa checkpoint ay hindi naka-uniporme taliwas sa panatuntunan ng wastong checkpoint.


  • PlumberfromCanada

    madam secretary, kung kumbinsido na po kayo sa nangyari, BAKIT HINDI NYO NA LANG ITIGIL ANG IMBESTIGASYON NA YAN????….paimbestiga imbestiga pa e dakdak ka naman ng dakdak di pa nga tapos!!!

  • Guest

    Only God knows what really happened. So people, “just let go and let God.” Remember that God is in control of everything. He is just and loving God and I believe that in due time
    justice will prevail in His own timing. We have to believe because God is a Sovereign
    God. So, the only thing we can do is to fix our eyes on our Lord Jesus Christ
    and pray for the family of the slain men and pray for these police officers and
    soldiers involved. As I said, justice will prevail. Trust in God. Let us also
    pray for our Government –“ pray for our justice system” And lastly, let us pray
    for one another and forgive one another.  At the end of the day, it is between you and

    At the end of the day, it’s between you and God anyway

     “People are often unreasonable andself-centered. Forgive them anyway.
    If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
    If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
    If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
    The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
    Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best
    For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you
    and them anyway.”
    — Mother Teresa

    Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow
    weary. Galatians 6:9

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