De Lima: Security forces may turn witness in Quezon shootout-A A +A
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
LOW-RANKING policemen and soldiers involved in the deadly shooting incident in Atimonan, Quezon, last January 6 may be used as state witness if they cooperate in the probe now being wrapped up by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
If qualified as state witness, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said they will not be included in the charge sheet.
"We're giving them chance to cooperate and possibly be considered state witnesses. I'm directing such appeal to the enlisted men or the lower-ranked operatives involved in the operations. We assured them of their safety," she said on Monday.
The NBI is expected to finish the report asked by President Benigno Aquino III this week and cases will then be filed against those responsible for the incident that killed 13 people, who were allegedly members of gun-for-hire group and involved in illegal activities such as jueteng.
De Lima had already concluded that the incident was not a shootout after getting the statements of the two witnesses who reportedly saw how security forces at the checkpoint killed the victims in cold blood.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also said in its fact-finding report that there was use of excessive force and checkpoint rules were ignored, fuelling speculations of a rubout as claimed by the families of victims.
Soldiers and policemen, particularly the operation's head Superintendent Hansel Marantan, denied the allegations.
Affidavits submitted to the NBI by some members of the Philippine Army 1st Special Forces Battalion, who were tapped by Marantan to help in the assault, pointed out that it was a legitimate operation. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)