MANILA, Philippines - The families of the fatalities in the Atimonan, Quezon "shootout" claim that their kin were "marked targets" of a "premeditated killing" but remained clueless as to the possible motive.
Christinne Consemino, eldest child of Supt. Alfredo Consemino, the highest ranking police officer slain in the incident, spoke on behalf of the fatalities' relatives in debunking claims their kin were involved in any illegal activity or criminal syndicate.
Local police earlier claimed they received a supposed tip on the approach of a heavily armed criminal syndicate; the convoy allegedly refused to stop at the checkpoint that was put up, and was the first to fire at the policemen and soldiers manning the checkpoint.
"Criminal syndicate daw, bakit walang criminal record ang mga biktima? Inosente sila... ang pagbabansag ay isa lamang kathang isip," she said.
Consemino and 12 others, including 2 other policemen and 3 soldiers, were killed in the alleged gun battle.
Christinne pointed out that all the firearms recovered from the fatalities were licensed and the two SUVs in the convoy were duly registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
There was no reason for the fatalities not to slow down at the checkpoint, she added, since her father was a policeman who, in fact, knew Supt. Hansel Marantan, intelligence officer of Police Regional Office 4 in the Calabarzon region who was at the checkpoint.
Christine also stressed that all the windows of the 2 SUVs were not rolled down, which meant the passengers did not fire their guns as the police claimed.
The families claimed that the convoy of Consemino and businessman Victor Siman, also a fatality, came from the house in Bicol of one Ronnie Habitan, to discuss their business venture, that of putting up a security agency.
"Legitimate po na lakad yun... para pag-usapan yung security agency lamang," Christinne said.
Along with the families of the other fatalities, Christinne and Consemino's common law wife went to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) office in Manila on Wednesday morning to execute sworn statements before the bureau's Death Investigation Unit (DID).
Boyet Siman lamented how his late brother Victor's name has been besmirched. He denied his brother was involved in jueteng or any illegal activity.
"Ang aking kapatid, hindi lamang mabuting tao, mabuting kapatid. Walang katotohanan ang mga sinasabi nila," he said.
Boyet and Christinne called on President Aquino and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to ensure that justice is served to those responsible for the incident, and urged government, through the NBI, to conduct an impartial probe.
NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Services Virgilio Mendez bared that NBI medico-legal teams will be deployed on Wednesday to conduct a re-autopsy on the fatalities' bodies. A technical team will also be sent to the crime scene to gather evidence.
Investigators from the NBI-DID will also be deployed.
"We will investigate to ferret out the truth... kahit sino masagasaan. No sacred cows here," he said.