MANILA – Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said authorities are still studying the right term to describe what happened in the Atimonan, Quezon shooting on January 6 that left 13 people dead.
She said they are still investigating if the incident was an ambush, summary execution, massacre, or a rubout.
De Lima on Thursday said she believes that no shootout happened between the law enforcers and suspected criminals.
On Friday, she said there was nothing wrong with her public statement, explaining that since the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is under the Department of Justice, it is her prerogative to supervise the investigation of the case.
She countered that instead of diverting the issue, the people involved should just answer the main issues against them.
She said diverting the issue is an old tactic that no longer works.
De Lima also ordered the NBI to speed up their investigation, which should be finished by Wednesday at the latest.
De Lima reiterated her earlier observation that there was no shootout, and since there was no shootout, it is important to find out the motive behind the killings.
De Lima said the NBI has started backtracking the movements of the Siman group to establish the motive.
De Lima also said that assuming they were part of a crime group, the right process was to file a case against them and then arrest them, not liquidate them.
She reminded everyone that we are a government of laws and that everybody has the right to due process under the law, saying that we are a civilized society not the “wild, wild west.”