MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday told Supt. Hansel Marantan to stop his "drama" and just face the investigation on the controversial January 6 Atimonan encounter that left 13 dead.
Roxas was reacting to Marantan's alleged refusal to subject himself to the fact-finding team set up by the Philippine National Police on the Atimonan gun battle, where alleged numbers racket "jueteng" personalities were involved.
"Siguro huwag na siyang mag-drama dahil nung pumunta doon at binisita siya ng PNP fact-finding ay tumanggi siyang sumagot sa mga katanungan at tumanggi siya na magpa-inspect o magpatingin sa kanila," he told radio dzMM.
"Para kay Supt. Marantan, imbis na mag-aksaya siya ng panahon sa media o kung ano pang pagdadrama, ay sumailalim siya sa imbestigasyon na ito. Dahil ang media, hindi naman iyan ang pormal na proseso."
To refute allegations of being uncooperative, Marantan on Tuesday showed a photo to ABS-CBN News of Scene of the Crime (SOCO) operatives visiting him at the hospital.
"In fact, mayroon kaming photographs to include the case number na they were welcomed here sa room ko. I even encouraged them na bigyan ng pansin 'yung slug na nakuha dito sa katawan ko. Baka sakaling makapagbigay linaw sa sinasabing shooutout," Marantan said.
Marantan denied that the gun battle on January 6 in which 13 men were killed, including his alleged jueteng rival Vic Siman, was a rubout.
"I vehemently deny na it was a rubout. I can swear to my God that it was not a rubout. This injury was not a self-inflicted injury. I'll even allow my attending doctor to explain the nature of my injury," he said.
Marantan was earlier relieved from his post after the PNP discovered operational lapses in the way he and several police officers and personnel set up the checkpoint in Barangay Lumutan.
The alleged shootout is now the subject of a probe by the National Bureau of Investigation after doubts were raised over the intention of the policemen.
The policemen stationed at the checkpoint claimed that the men, on board two sports utility vehicles, fired the first shots. They said the checkpoint was set up after they received reports that a private armed group would pass by the area.
The relatives of the slain men, however, believe the incident was a rub-out. Several photos have since surfaced suggesting that the crime scene was tampered.
The Atimonan clash has caught the attention of the media due to its implications on the conduct of policemen stationed at checkpoints. – with Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News