MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas assured in a command conference around 1:30pm this afternoon in Camp Crame that the on-going investigation involving top PNP officials will be fair and that there will be no cover up or ‘white wash.’
The DILG chief refers to the deadly shooting incident in Atimonan, Quezon last Sunday that led to the death of 13 men, including 3 PNP officials and 2 Air Force officers.
“Aalamin natin ang buong katotohanan dito at tinitiyak kong hindi magkakaroon ng whitewash at takipan,” Roxas said adding that said incident is no joke. “Mayroon kang 13 kalalakihan na puro armado. Hindi naman siguro sila manonood lang ng sine,” he adds said.
The investigation is now being handled by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as ordered by President Benigno Aquino III. The role of the PNP now is more on determining the administrative liabilities of those who were involved in the incident and no more no less, Roxas notes.
Top PNP officials sacked
PNP Director General Allan Purisima who was also in said conference announced the relief of the entire members of the Philippine National Police who were involved in the deadly checkpoint shooting incident.
The relief order came after the initial results of a PNP fact-finding mission showed that the policemen who were involved in the setting up of a checkpoint where the alleged encounter took place violated operational procedures.
Among those ordered relieved were Senior Supt. Valeriano de Leon, the Quezon provincial police director, the chief of police of Atimonan town, and an intelligence unit of about 15 men under Supt. Hansel Marantan, who was wounded in the incident.
The relieved officers have been recalled to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame where they will be held in restricted custody, while the non-commissioned officers will be restricted within Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna.
Initial investigation result
During this afternoon press conference, Roxas said that out of the 13 men who were killed in the incident, eight were positive for gunpowder burns but said these are not conclusive that they indeed fired guns during the Sunday incident.
The DILG secretary also said that of the 14 guns recovered from the cars of the slain men, 13 were licensed, but only seven are covered by permits to carry.
Roxas also disclosed that the first SUV where five of the slain men were riding sustained no less than 186 bullet holes, while the second SUV had around 50 bullet holes.
However, Roxas declined to speculate on the motives or the cause of the alleged firefight, saying that it will be up to the NBI to decide who were at fault and who would be criminally charged, if warranted.
Meanwhile, General Purisima said the policemen involved in the incident, particularly those who set up the checkpoint, violated basic procedures such as the failure to put distinct signs in the main checkpoint and the lack of a marked police vehicle in the vicinity.
He added that only one uniformed policeman, the chief of police of Atimonan, was manning the checkpoint, while the rest, including the intelligence team under Marantan, were all in civilian clothes in violation of checkpoint guidelines.
It was learned that aside from the NBI and the DOJ, the Commission on Human Rights is also conducting a separate investigation amid claims that the encounter was a rubout.
“We are wholeheartedly supporting them in their investigations and … I assure everyone of our full cooperation to find out the truth, as what I told President Aquino during our meeting,” Secretary Roxas disclosed.