There was no shootout and an attempt at a cover-up by some of his subordinates in the massacre of 13 persons in Atimonan, Quezon province, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima.
Purisima thus bolstered the statement made earlier by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that there was no shootout in the Atimonan incident.
The findings of the PNP, which conducted its own investigation into the incident, will surely match that of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The NBI has gathered witnesses, including soldiers who took part in the police-military operation, who said that investigators who arrived at the scene tampered with pieces of evidence to make it appear there was a shootout.
There is an airtight case for multiple murder against the policemen and soldiers involved in the incident.
Purisima has the public’s admiration for not covering up for his men.
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But Purisima should go one step further than merely admitting that the cops involved in the Atimonan incident committed multiple murder.
The PNP chief should also order the inclusion in the multiple murder charge of Chief Supt. James Melad, director of the PNP Region 4-A chief who has been relieved, and Senior Supt Valeriano de Leon, who has also been sacked as a result of the Atimonan incident.
Some of my sources in the illegal numbers game in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region said Melad was approached by “jueteng” financiers who had complained that Vic Siman, one of the massacre victims, was encroaching on their territory.
Melad, according to my sources, was allegedly receiving a hefty sum monthly from some jueteng lords and wanted to reciprocate them for their generosity.
Melad knew his deputy chief for intelligence, Supt. Hanzel Marantan, was a brother of one of those adversely affected by Siman’s alleged poaching.
The sacked regional director reportedly assigned Marantan to eliminate Siman and make it appear that he was a leader of a gun-for-hire syndicate, according to my sources.
When Marantan carried out Melad’s order, my sources said, the latter was in Manila purportedly attending an official function.
The alibi would make it appear Melad did not have prior knowledge of the ambush.
Perceptive readers who have followed reports on the incident and its aftermath from the start may have noticed that Melad was vehement in his defense of Marantan.
Melad twitted Marantan’s critics, saying they were not at the scene when the “shootout” took place, and so had no right to prejudge Marantan.
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What’s taking the Sandiganbayan so long to decide on the P366-million plunder case involving intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)?
No less than government prosecutors have told the antigraft court that some of the respondents didn’t benefit financially from the fund mess and, therefore, were wrongly charged with plunder.
The principal accused is former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Among her coaccused are former PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia; PCSO president and general manager Rosario Uriarte; PCSO directors Manoling Morato, Raymundo Roquero, Jose Taruc V; and former Commission on Audit (COA) chair Rey Villar.
Perhaps ex-President GMA and Uriarte could have benefited from the fund misuse.
But the others, whose duties were only ministerial, couldn’t have.
Villar, especially, could not have profited from it since the COA cannot audit intelligence funds.