All signs point to an ambush, not shootout

Posted at 01/15/2013 12:47 AM | Updated as of 01/15/2013 2:05 AM

PNP report: Evidence at crime scene moved

MANILA - ABS-CBN News has obtained some of the pictures of the aftermath of the alleged shootout in Atimonan, Quezon that tell conflicting stories.

In the first picture, a victim is not yet that bloody, his shirt is raised, and his gun holstered.

In the second, there is noticeably more blood, the victim's shirt is down, and he has a gun in front of him.

Another victim in a white shirt fell in a street gutter and there is no gun.

But when scene of the crime operatives arrived, a gun suddenly materialized in front of him.

The body's position has also changed and is now deeper in the gutter.

ABS-CBN's source also raises questions about a man in a checkered shirt.

Like the first two, he has no gun in the first picture, and already has one in the second.

The source asks how the man was able to hold a gun when both of his fists were closed.

The pictures are part of the report of the PNP's fact-finding committee submitted to PNP chief Alan Purisima.

The report concludes there were violations in the conduct of the checkpoint as well as the crime scene inquest,  and excessive force was used against the victims.

The report also says the injuries of Police Superintendent Hansel Marantan, who led the operation, could not be determined because he declined to submit to a physical examination.

There are also doubts about the position of the two fatalities found outside the vehicles, who may have been moved and the firearms found.

Investigators also say, not all the guns found near the victims were discharged.

Although the probe has yet to be concluded, the report says all signs point to an ambush and not a shootout.

The fact-finding committee is recommending criminal charges against all PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel involved in the incident.

NBI official doubts Quezon incident was a shootout

Meantime, Purisima has given the fact-finding team until today (Jan. 14) to re-submit its report, which he returned for lack of form and substance.

Congress also wants its own probe into the Atimonan, Quezon shootout that left 13 people dead.

Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla, Jr. filed a resolution on Monday saying the incident might have been a rubout.

It follows a similar call from Quezon Representative and minority leader  Danilo Suarez.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is the lead agency handling the investigation. Its deputy director, Virgilio Mendez, doubts there was an encounter.

"Depende kung anong understanding n'yo ng shootout. Ibig sabihin [ba nun] nagbarilan?” he says.

Mendez says, while there is no deadline to finish the investigation, the final report will most likely be on President Aquino's desk by Friday.

The NBI is also still waiting for the report of the PNP's fact-finding team.

Purisima won't confirm or deny reports that what happened in Quezon wasn't a shootout  but an ambush.

But, he says, there were lapses committed by the policemen involved.
 
"Just by looking at the crime scene, makikita mo there are already violations sa police opeartion and procedure and more or less, doon tayo magcoconcentrate,” he says.

In Malacanang, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda refuses to comment until the NBI's official findings are out. -- with a report from Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News