MANILA, Philippines - A small-scale mining financier in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte broke his silence over his alleged role on the incident in Atimonan, Quezon that left 13 people dead.
While his name has already been mentioned in news reports, Ronnie Habitan requested that his face be hidden and his voice distorted for security reasons.
He denied allegations made by Pastor Roger de Castro, a friend of slain Supt. Alfredo Consemino, that a dispute in gold shares is the motive behind the alleged rubout.
“Sinungaling 'yung pastor na 'yun, nakaharap ko na yun, sinungaling 'yun pastor na 'yun…Paano magkaka-onsehan 'yun e, wala naman silang [Consemino] pambili ng ginto, ayos naman silang kausap, nagbabayad naman, kaso nitong huli hindi pa siya nakakabayad,” Habitan said.
Habitan’s name was dragged into the incident after Consemino’s daughter alleged that he met with her father’s group, also led by Victor “Vic” Siman, early on January 6.
Habitan confirmed Consemino visited him that Sunday, hours before the killing.
He claimed, however, that the visit was about laying out plans in the operations of the Golden Nor Security Agency. “Wala kaming usapan sa ginto, ang pinag-usapan namin sa security,” he said.
He also clarified that he did not give the group some P5 million, which has supposedly gone missing after the incident. The amount was supposedly for the operations of the security agency.
He asked Siman to give him at least a week to mull things over and study the proposal for the security agency. He said no less than Siman admitted to him that most of their businesses are illegal, which include a jueteng operation.
Habitan also confirmed that one of the 13 who died,
Maximo Pelayo of Tigaon, Camarines Sur, is the leader of Siman’s gun-for-hire business.
He also suspects that the white pick-up truck, which was reportedly with the convoy in Quezon, might have fled to Pampanga.
The National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group have already taken the statements of Habitan.
Meanwhile, Camarines Norte PNP chief Ricardo Paleracio noted there seems nothing illegal in the victims’ meeting with Habitan on the morning of that day. He stressed, however, that the Quezon police has jurisdiction over the shooting incident. – Jonathan Magistrado and Israel Malasa, ABS-CBN News