MANILA, Philippines—While President Aquino is taking time to review the investigation report on the January 6 killing of 13 alleged criminals in Atimonan, Quezon, Malacañang said Wednesday there’s no hanky-panky involved.
Secretary Edwin Lacierda, presidential spokesperson, squelched speculations that the National Bureau Investigation report was being sanitized to clear some officials of any liability.
“I can tell you nothing is being cleaned up,” Lacierda said in a briefing. “We are very transparent.”
He said the President was sifting through the five-inch thick report, submitted by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on February 7 to the Office of the President, in a “very detailed manner.”
“He’s studying it thoroughly,” he said.
After reviewing the report, the President will clear its release to the public. Since some police officers were involved in the alleged shootout, Mr. Aquino tasked the NBI to investigate the incident.
Mr. Aquino himself admitted that the report was voluminous. “It’s actually not that long a document. It’s just five inches thick. It weighs over six kilos and the briefer on it is 64 pages. It was my first time to read a book looking up to the ceiling while seated at a table,” he said then.
Three police officers and 10 others were killed in the alleged 20-minute gun battle at a checkpoint along a sparsely populated stretch of Maharlika Highway in Atimonan.
Supt. Hansel Marantan, leader of the team manning the checkpoint, was the only one hurt among 50 policemen and Army special forces troops that allegedly shot it out with the group of alleged “jueteng” operator Victor Siman.
The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, chaired by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, has admitted giving Marantan some P100,000 for intelligence gathering on the operation to arrest Siman.