THE Department of Justice (DOJ) will file murder charges against the policemen and soldiers involved in the Atimonan shooting incident in January that left 13 people dead.
A source at the Justice department familiar with the case said the panel of prosecutors that conducted the preliminary investigation recommended the charges after finding probable cause.
The source said the draft resolution of the panel headed by Senior Assistant Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva has been completed. The members of the panel are City Prosecutor Vimar Barcellano, Assistant State Prosecutors Hazel Decena-Valdez and Niven Canlapan and Prosecution Attorney Cesar Angelo Chavez 3rd.
The complaint will be filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Quezon.
The source said the hands of the prosecutors were “tied” because of the pronouncement of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the case was a “rubout” and not a “shootout.”
“The panel can’t contradict de Lima’s pronouncement. Even Malacañang went with the NBI report so what can they do?” the source said.
The draft resolution cited “conspiracy” among the policemen and soldiers as it gave weight to the testimony of three witnesses.
The incident on January 6 led to the killing of suspected jueteng kingpin Vic Siman and 12 others.
The operation was led by Police Supt. Hansel Marantan. The 14 soldiers who took part in the shooting were led by Lt. Col. Monico Abang, who was the commander of the Armed Forces’ Solcom (Southern Luzon Command) Special Forces Battalion.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) described the Atimonan encounter as “a well-calculated plan to close the book on Vic Siman under the pretext of Coplan Armado, using government forces and resources.”
The bureau recommended murder charges against Marantan, Abang and Region IV-A police director, Chief Supt. James Andres Melad, as well as Senior Insp. John Paolo Carracedo, Senior Police Officer 1 Arturo Sarmiento, Supt. Ramon Balauag, Senior Insp. Timoteo Orig, Senior Police Officer 3 Joselito de Guzman, Senior Police Officer 1 Carlo Cataquiz, Police Officer 3 Eduardo Oronan, Police Officer 2 Nelson Indal, Police Officer 2 Al Bhazar Jailani, Police Officer 1 Wryan Sardea, Police Officer 1 Rodel Talento, Police Chief Insp. Grant Gollod, Inspectors Ferdinand Aguilar, Evaristo San Juan, Police Officer 3 Benedict Dimayuga, Police Officer 2 Ronnie Serdena, Police Officer 1 Esperidion Corpuz Jr., Police Officer 1 Bernie de Leon and Police Officer 1 Allen Ayubo, Capt. Erwin Macalinao, Lt. Rico Tagure, Technical Sgt. Melanio Balauitan, Corporal Clark Magusara, Private First Class Michael Franco, Private First Class Kirby-Tam Coronel, Private First Class Alvin Roque Pabon, Private First Class Ricky Jay Borja, Private First Class Melvin Lumalang, Private First Class Gil Gallego, Private Marc Zaldy Docdoc, Private Emergin Barrete and Private Michard Mangao.