• 22 lawmen in Atimonan carnage still get their pay

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    The 22 accused police personnel in the Atimonan shooting incident in January 2013 continue receiving their salary and other benefits, a Philippine National Police (PNP) official said on Tuesday.

    Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP-Public Information Office chief, explained that the respondents are not yet proven guilty and they still have the right to receive their salary and benefits, which is part of due process.

    Sindac said that all accused have filed their respective motions and could still file another motion in case the court finds them guilty.

    The official admitted that numerous processes are still needed in the Atimonan case, which must be observed for the sake of due process.

    The accused police officers, including Police Supt. Ramon Balauag, police intelligence chief of Quezon province, are implicated in the alleged summary execution of 13 men, led by suspected gambling financier Vic Siman.

    Balauag was among police officers led by Supt. Hanzel Marantan and a group of soldiers from the 1st Special Forces Battalion accused of gunning down Siman’s group on January 6, 2013 in Barangay Lumutan, Atimonan, Quezon.

    The group of Marantan and Balauag were charged with multiple murder in connection with the incident. This is on top of administrative charges filed against them by the PNP.

    The Atimonan incident was reported initially as a shootout between joint police and military operatives led by Marantan but was later investigated because of certain discrepancies that pointed to a rub-out case.

    Marantan, who was wounded during the incident, was ordered restricted to Camp Crame along with the other police officers who took part in the operation.

    The ensuing investigation floated the possibility of gambling turf war between Siman and allegedly the group identified with Marantan.

    Marantan repeatedly denied the allegations and insisted that it was a shootout, saying that his being wounded during the incident was proof that there was an exchange of gunfire.

    PNA

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