Aquino wants full probe into Quezon firefight-A A +A
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- President Benigno Aquino III ordered Tuesday a deeper probe into the firefight at a checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon last Sunday that led to the death of 13 people, including police and military personnel.
“The President is very interested in this incident, which obviously got the national attention. It is something that the President would also like to see what happened, what are the details of the incident," said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
He said aside from the investigation being conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a parallel investigation.
The PNP earlier said it created a fact-finding team to determine if the incident was indeed a legitimate shootout with security enforcers, or if it was a rub-out.
"PNP will still conduct its own fact-finding relative to such matters as the source and use of firearms, the involvement of certain police officers, etc. But as to exactly what happened and culpability, if any, of those manning the checkpoint, it will solely be the NBI," de Lima said in a text message.
Lacierda assured there will be no whitewash in the investigation, adding Aquino wants the full report on his table as soon as possible.
The Commission on Human Rights is already looking into allegations that the slain men were victims of summary execution.
For his part, House Deputy Speaker and Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tañada III called for an immediate investigation on the incident.
“The pieces of the puzzle have to fit as there are claims and counter-claims. I am not pre-judging the incident nor taking sides but clearly, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, the sequence and actual events that transpired. We have to establish whether or not it is a rub-out or a shoot-out,” Tañada said.
Atimonan is part of the fourth district of Quezon province, which Tañada represents in Congress.
Meantime, Lacierda said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala confirmed that Tirso Lontoc Jr., the environmentalist who died during the shootout, was a fourth degree relative.
Others killed during the deadly firefight were Police Superintendent Alfredo Consemino, Deputy Operation for Region IV-A, PO1 Jeffrey Valdez, SPO1 Gruet Mantuano, SSGT Armando Lescano of the Air Force Training and Education Office, Maximo Pelayo and Leonardo Marasigan both alleged members of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Also killed were civilians Conrado Decillo, Gerry Siman, Victorino Atienza Jr., Victor Gonzales, Jimbeam Justianni and Paul Quiohilag.
Malacanang refused to comment on the alleged involvement of police and military personnel in the incident pending the result of the investigation.
“Any concerns, for instance, any identities of personalities that have been linked to this or that person or to this or that incident previously, we will still wait for the results of the investigation,” said Lacierda. (Jill Beltran/Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)