MANILA, Philippines—Two more police officers involved in the Atimonan shooting incident last January have gone on absent-without-leave in what authorities could be interpreted as an apparent attempt to escape the law, a Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.
Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP-Public Information Office chief, identified the missing cops as Police Officers 2 Nelson Indal and Al Bhazar Jailani.
The “escape” of Indal and Jailani came after the Department of Justice filed against them, and to 11 others, multiple murder charges for their involvement in the killing of suspected gambling lord Vic Siman and 12 others in Atimonan, Quezon province on January 6.
They were reported missing in the first week of September.
Aside from Indal and Jailani, also missing is their superior, Superintendent Ramon Balauag, who disappeared while under restrictive custody at Camp Crame in Quezon City since July 8.
Balauag was monitored to have flown out of the country on board China Airlines June 16 and went back on July 27.
Manhunt operations for the missing cops have been launched, Sindac said.
When the Atimonan incident happened in January, all involved PNP personnel were then reassigned to Headquarters Support Service under restrictive custody to ensure their availability to face further investigation.
Philippine Daily Inquirer earlier reported that the Atimonan shootout was a joint operation by the police and military targeting only suspected gambling lord Vic Siman, but subsequently led to the killing of other people, mostly police officers.
Apart from Balauag, Indal and Jailani, other officers charged with multiple murder charges were:
Superintendent Hansel Marantan
Chief Inspector Grant Gollod
Senior Inspector John Paolo Carracedo
Senior Inspector Timoteo Orig
Senior Police Officer 3 Joselito de Guzman
Senior Police Officer 1Arturo Sarmiento
Senior Police Officer 1Carlo Cataquiz
Police Officer 3 Eduardo Oronan
Police Officer 1 Wryan Sardea
Police Officer 1 Rodel Talento alias “Rodel Tolentino”