AFP chief stands by soldiers in Quezon shooting incident



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–Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista is standing by the officers and men of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Battalion implicated in the bloody Quezon incident.

“Our direction is unity of effort with all security forces to address security issues. Our soldiers, they just do their job. As long as they (were) doing their job, there is nothing really to worry about because they did what they think was right,” Bautista said in a press conference Wednesday at the Defense Department.

Bautista declined to comment on the Philippine Daily Inquirer report that the Special Forces troopers have been offered to become state witnesses.

“I think the Justice Department and or the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) can answer that,” he said.

Bautista said the military is now reviewing the protocols followed by the soldiers when the Philippine National Police calls for augmentation force in its operations.

Bautista said the PNP’s notice of request, made by the team of Superintendent Hansel Marantan, was “under a tight time frame.”

“There was no time to study the situation. We are reviewing how we can have due diligence given time constraints. We want to be deliberate,” Bautista said.

Initial media reports said that there were 25 Special Forces troopers involved in the bloody clash between government security forces and an alleged group of gun-for-hire led by reported jueteng lord Victor “Vic” Siman in Atimonan town in Quezon province last Jan. 6.

However, Philippine Daily Inquirer sources said of the 25 soldiers, only around 14 were actually deployed to the checkpoint on Maharlika Highway, including Abang.

The rest were left at a police station in Quezon. Of Abang’s group, four others were stationed at the first checkpoint and did not participate in the shooting incident, one of the Inquirer sources said.

Siman and 12 others were killed in the clash. Only Marantan was injured from the side of the government security forces.

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.

  • RyanE

    “Bautista said the PNP’s notice of request, made by the team of Superintendent Hansel Marantan, was “under a tight time frame.” 

    Many people don’t have the grasp of reality. It’s easy to comment and throw accusations after the events have transpired. However, if you are the one right there in the scene when the events are unfolding, then for sure it will be a lot different.

    • Htee

      That is why there is what we call training. We put guns on these soldier’s hands so as to protect the citizenry. Training suppose to make them not only a good marksmen but also to keep them calm on situations like these.
      Please reconsider your comment.

  • gilbs72

    “As long as they (were) doing their job, there is nothing really to worry about because they did what they think was right.”  But clearly, they were NOT doing their job, and what THEY THINK is right isn’t necessarily what IS RIGHT. Did he weigh the facts as supposedly the most qualified soldier of the land?  Did he consider the result of investigations (and this is already the official findings of the NBI)?

    The soldiers + police were clearly in a superior position.  Enough to control the situation – regardless whether shots were fired from the vehicles OR NOT.  There is no question about it THERE WAS NO NEED to pepper the vehicles with bullets and ensure all occupants were dead. They had checkpoints on, before and after the site; the troops were far superior in number and firepower, and they had freedom of movement; the suspects/victims were trapped in cramped vehicles and only had side-arms (if they had long-arms it  would be difficult to maneuver inside the cars).

    Whatever happened to “calibrated response”???  Or, getting the suspects alive?  Was there a shoot-to-kill order?

    Either it shows unprofessionalism of our soldiers (panic fire? trigger-happy?) or there was really intent to murder some or all of the victims. Any way we look at it, there is not even a speck of reason for the General to stand by the soldiers. It is short of him saying the AFP Chief himself is the only person who cannot reasonably evaluate a situation he was supposedly trained for all his career – in which case he should lose all those stars.  If the AFP doesn’t know how to respect human rights (yes, even assuming they were suspects), walang kalaban-laban ang civilians.

    If there were childen and women behind those tinted windows, tapos ang kaso.  BUT apparently they didn’t even check this at either the first or second checkpoint.

  • Eagle from Davao

    If you are just there to augment the PNP, you are just waiting for the next order.If you hear the order,”open fire” or someone fired first at you,you just switch from safety to full auto ,aim and empty your magazines,reload,fire again and reload again and fire again until you run out of ammo or your superior will order” cease fire”. After you stop firing,put it to safety, you check your weapon first,check the chamber,check magazine and check yourself ,check your buddy who are wounded and provide perimeter security. you are not there to mediate and think the pro and cons of the mission,if the objectives of your mission was meet. Or Who are those people who received the hail of bullets are still alive ,what are ther motives or what they think when they received those bullets you just fire. Why they are the objectives of your mission?

    You are there to receive and follow lawful orders from your superiors. Called harsh ,that is the reality of life of a soldier.

    • Htee

      In other word….ROBOTs.
      Soldiers should leave their brains in the barracks in order to have an extra room for gun powder.

      Lame excuse.

  • Joel Marantan

    When you are your own man you think and act like a man otherwise you are reduced to a grinning puppet!

    • Htee

      Helloooo, there is a chain of command. He has a superior officer in the person of the commander in chief, the president. Even the president said he has a “BOSSING”.

      People like you with this line of reasonnin should be fed to the dogs.

  • arao_liwanag

    Bautista reveal its pang. The military cannot just do what they think is right, only what is legal and according to the law. Because of this statement,which is tantamount to transgression of the rule law, he should be asked to resign or he be fired.

  • palakasantayo

    Bautista just hanged himself with this statement, “they did what they think was right, or just following orders”. Because the incident happened before his appointment, he should have been careful. He should have said that the designated authority is looking into the case and the AFP will look into their protocol/procedure to prevent another occurrence like this. Now that he said the soldiers were following orders, now… he has to go after the officers who gave the order. By the way, PNP and AFP can not join forces especially in a operation like this. PNP’s mandate is to go after the target (Siman) but, AFP is to delete/erase them all.

  • Leo

    General Bautista should be fired and/or resign from his post…..for making such statement.

    • Jaime

      He canot be fired, he’s commander is the same.

  • $37644997

    Promotions after promotions for what?

  • Htee

    As long as they (were) doing their job, there is nothing really to worry about because they did what they think was right,” Bautista said in a press conference Wednesday at the Defense Department.
    Patay na tayo….wala din pala tayong maaasahan dito sa isang ito.
    Kung ganito ang takbo ng utak ng namumuno sa ating hukbong sandatahan, we are definitely going to the dogs. So now soldiers can do what they want as long as they think they are right. Unang pagsubok pa lang ito kay general, unang press release pa man din…unang hakbang…

    • Jaime

      I feel sorry for the Philippines.

  • kontra_boohaya

    Very dangerous and irresponsible statement!  No wonder na talamak ang mga abusadong de baril dahil sa pagiisip na ganito.  Seer, ok lang ba sayo kung sabihin ng mga battalion commanders mo na “mang hold up na lang ako ng bangko o western union o kotongan ko lahat ng negosyante dito sa sinasakupan kong area para sa pagkain, pang toma at pang bili ng kagamitan ng mga tropa ko?”    

  • rouelcalzita

    How donkey mind the General is…? 
    Our soldiers, they just do their job. As long as they (were) doing their job, there is nothing really to worry about because they did what they think was right.
    If they were right why it has to be reviewed the protocol? 

    • Jaime

      He’s a gradute of PMA.  Please abolish this school and just replace it with Kindergarden.

  • Jaime

    Bautista, I hope that one day you will be stopped at a check point and they will fail to recognize you. 

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