De Lima didn't preempt probe, says Palace

Posted at 01/18/13 1:40 PM

MANILA - Malacañang defended Justice Secretary Leila de Lima from criticisms that she allegedly preempted the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) probe into the Atimonan incident when she told the covering media that there was no shootout. 
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said de Lima is in a “better position to speak about the details of the investigation.”
“I don’t think that the secretary is preempting the investigation. The media that are there would also want details owing to their coverage and we trust that Secretary de Lima was also on hand to provide the proper guidance to the investigation,” Valte said.
The Palace urged the camp of Superintendent Hansel Marantan to just cooperate with the investigation rather than criticize de Lima for being present during the reenactment of the crime in Atimonan Thursday.
The NBI has been tasked by the President as the sole investigator of the incident. 
“That’s splitting hairs already. That’s irrelevant. As anybody knows, the NBI is under the Department of Justice, which is headed by Secretary de Lima,” Valte said. 

“Perhaps better for them to cooperate in the investigation rather than attack the secretary personally.”
Valte declined to comment further if de Lima’s observation matches that of the President, who earlier voiced doubts about the version of law enforcers involved in the shooting incident. 
“At this point we will wait for the final report… before we make any comment on the details that have been coming out in the media lately since the event had happened,” Valte said.