Latest Stories

‘Jueteng’ and other theories on Atimonan slays


PARTNERSHIP Gold miner Ronnie Habitan of Camarines Norte (second, from left) met with four of the Atimonan 13—Michael Pajarillo, Vic Siman, Supt. Alfredo Consemino and Maximo Pelayo—during the office blessing of New Marc Security Agency in Calamba City in Laguna. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The motive for the police-military operation that resulted in the killing of 13 people in Atimonan, Quezon province, on Jan. 6 has not been established, but several theories have been advanced.

It was part of the government’s intensified effort to eradicate private armed groups (PAGs), but it went awry.

Among the priorities of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, or PAOCC, is to disband PAGs immediately, if possible, to prevent their use in May’s midterm elections.

The PAOCC has admitted giving Supt. Hansel Marantan, the leader of the police team in the Atimonan operation, P100,000 for intelligence gathering to build up his “Coplan Armado,” the operational plan to arrest Victor “Vic” Siman, allegedly an illegal gambling lord who also headed a PAG in Southern Luzon.

“Marantan pushed the right buttons by going to the PAOCC. He knew that if it’s about PAGs, he’d get support and funds,” a source who has knowledge of PAOCC operations told the Inquirer recently.

But Marantan overdid it and the operation turned into a bloodbath.

It was the end of a battle for turf and control of the multimillion-peso numbers racket jueteng in Southern Luzon.

Siman was expanding in the areas dominated by another alleged jueteng operator, Cenen “Tita” Dinglasan, in Laguna province, and Marantan was allegedly Dinglasan’s protector.

Some people believe Marantan and Dinglasan are siblings but, according to various police sources, the two are not, although they are “very close, more than siblings.”

Siman operated small town lottery (STL) outlets, which he set up as fronts for his jueteng operations.

STL is a government-sanctioned lottery that generates tax revenue from franchise holders. Jueteng operators who use STL as cover for their real business report minimal income; the smaller the income, the smaller the taxes.

To keep their taxes low, jueteng operators hiding behind STL use their STL bet collectors as bet collectors for their illegal bookie operations.

“Using the same collectors for STL and bookie [operations], only a small portion of the collection is declared as STL bets. The bulk of it goes to the bookie collection and to its operator,” the source said.

Avenging Kua

Theorists have offered a curious angle:

The operation was revenge for the killing last year of journalist and former tourism official Nixon Kua to please a powerful friend of Kua.

Kua was shot dead in Greenfields Estate in Laguna in July last year, allegedly by the group of Siman on a contract put out by some rice smugglers whom the journalist had displeased.

While waiting for the group of Siman to arrive in Atimonan, Marantan was overheard telling his closest ally in the operation, Chief Insp. Grant Gollod, Atimonan police chief, that the operation had go-signal from Kua’s powerful friend.

Legal cover

It gets curiouser: Siman and Camarines Norte gold miner Ronnie Habitan, a principal character in the Atimonan drama, were partners in Marc Security Agency, a private security company that was trying to win a contract from the Ayala-run Greenfields Estate.

Marantan, whose Coplan Armado had only Siman for a target, monitored all of Siman’s activities, including getting into legitimate private security operation to provide a cover for his gun-for-hire business.

“Siman owning a legitimate business might jeopardize the case Marantan was building against him,” the source said.

So Marantan, allegedly a target of Siman’s group, which lost a collector to a police operation led by Marantan in Calamba City in November last year, used Coplan Armado as cover to bring the fight to Siman.

And, the theory goes, Marantan ended the fight in Atimonan.

Getting even

The theory of double-cross and skimming profits off gold sales involves gold miner Habitan who, Marantan claimed, was his tipster on the movement of Siman’s group on Maharlika Highway in Quezon on Jan. 6.

Marantan visited Habitan in the gold miner’s house in Jose Panganiban town, Camarines Norte, that morning. Nobody else knew Siman was on the road to Laguna.

Siman, according to this theory, may have double-crossed Habitan in some deal and may have been cheating him in the sale of gold. It is not implausible that the gold miner wanted to hit back on Siman.

Habitan had heard of that theory and denied he was Marantan’s tipster. He said he could not have offered to help a police officer who once extorted money from him and that he was preparing to bring charges of extortion against Marantan.

Habitan also denied having differences with Siman. He said Siman had been good to him.

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 shootout , Jueteng

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
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Massive infra spending set
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  8. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Captain not at helm of capsized Korean ferry–probers
  • 4.9 quake jolts Batanes on Maundy Thursday
  • Presidents, celebrities mourn writer Garcia Marquez
  • MH370 search to be most costly ever at $100 million — analysts
  • Iraqi guilty of beating wife to death in US
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace