Source: NBI likely to clear PAOCC in Quezon shootout report-A A +A
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
MANILA -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is expected to clear the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) in its report to President Benigno Aquino III on the gruesome January 6 incident in Atimonan, Quezon, where 13 people were killed, a highly-place source said Tuesday.
The NBI is the sole agency tasked by the President to probe the Atimonan shootout and determine the liability, if any, of persons involved. It is expected to submit its report to Malacañang Wednesday before Aquino leaves for Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
The source, who is a ranking official at the bureau, told reporters that the PAOCC could not be held liable for providing funds to the group of Superintendent Hansel Marantan, the ground commander that implemented case operation (coplan) Armado.
He said that the explanation made by Chief Superintendent Reginald Villasanta, PAOCC executive director, last January 18 before the NBI was already acceptable to the probers since the main issue in the investigation was the propriety of the operation.
In his interview with the NBI, Villasanta said that PAOCC did not approve coplan Armado since its proponents, led by Marantan, were not able to submit several requirements. He said that the funds given to Marantan were to be used to gather further intelligence information, as a prerequisite for PAOCC's approval.
According to Villasanta, the PAOCC board did not reach the point of approving the coplan because its proponents had yet to comply with certain requirements. He further said that at the time when the proposal was given to the PAOCC, there were other cases pending with the commission that were considered a priority.
Villasanta clarified that the amount released to the coplan proponents was "only for intelligence purposes and not intended for operations."
Thus, the NBI source said, the level of liability in the report will only be in the level of the operatives.
"The main issue in our investigation, as ordered by (Justice) Secretary (Leila) de Lima, is the propriety of the operation... Can the PAOCC be liable if there was indeed an overkill considering there was no approval yet?" he said.
Sought for comment, de Lima said: "We're still studying that."
De Lima earlier said that she will stand by the NBI witnesses who claimed that the victims led by alleged jueteng lord Vic Siman were killed in cold blood and not as a result of a shootout with law enforcers who manned the Atimonan checkpoint.
She said that the witnesses' accounts were supported by physical and forensic evidence gathered by the NBI. (JCV/Sunnex)