MANILA, Philippines -- Supt. Hansel Marantan, the police officer who led the operation in Atimonan, Quezon that led to the deaths of 13 men, is now willing to cooperate with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.
PNP Spokesperson Supt. Generoso Cerbo said Marantan has agreed to cooperate with NBI officials investigating the bloody encounter between joint police and military forces and alleged members of a gun-for-hire group led by Vic Siman.
This comes a day after Cerbo said Marantan may face charges of obstruction of justice and insubordination.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas earlier said Marantan, the lone police officer injured in the January 6 Atimonan encounter, refused to subject himself to questioning and physical examination.
"Ang latest naman ay nakikipagcooperate na sa NBI athough initially may reports that he refused to answer the questions posed by investigators, he refused to share evidence na nasa kanya like the slugs. But mukha namang nagbago na," Cerbo told reporters at Camp Crame Thursday afternoon.
"Mukhang cooperating with NBI and na-turn over na 'yung slugs," Cerbo added.
The NBI said the St. Luke's Medical Center-Global City, where Marantan had been confined since the incident, already turned over the bullet slug that allegedly hit Marantan.
The NBI is the lead agency handling the investigation on the bloody encounter that left 13 men dead.
The legitimacy of the police operation has come under question amid allegations that the supposed gun battle was not a shootout.
Marantan, who was allegedly engaged in a turf rivalry with Siman due to their involvement in jueteng operations in the region, has repeatedly denied that the gun battle was a rubout.
However, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Thursday morning she is certain that the encounter was not a shootout.
De Lima said three witnesses, whose identities are being withheld, have come forward to shed light on the shooting. -- Report from Edwin Sevidal, dzMM