MANILA, Philippines - The head of the police team involved in the shooting incident that left 13 dead in Quezon province on Sunday insisted Tuesday that the operation against the alleged criminal gang members was legitimate.
Police Superintendent Hansel Marantan, who was injured from the shooting, is currently recuperating in a hospital.
He sustained gunshot wounds in his left arm and leg.
Dr. Janus Buscayno, an orthopedic specialist, said bullets fractured Marantan's femur and arm.
Marantan dismissed allegations that the injuries were self-inflicted.
He said he and his men put up a checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon after receiving information that Vic Siman's alleged gun-for-hire group will pass through the area.
Marantan added that he asked the military for back-up, knowing that suspected crime group was armed.
He said they were approaching Siman's vehicle when the suspects suddenly opened fire.
"Pag-roll ng bintana nila, ay bigla na lamang nagpaputok at ako ay bumagsak," he said. "Gumapang na lang ako papalayo at doon nagkaputukan na."
Marantan said the shootout had nothing to do with illegal gambling operations.
He also denied that he has relatives linked to illegal gambling.
He is dismayed with the negative reactions to the alleged shootout.
This is not the first such incident involving Marantan.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Marantan was also part of the alleged shootout in Ortigas in 2005 that was caught on camera.
Three people died in the incident that was dubbed as a summary killing by the Commission on Human Rights.
"Ganito talaga ang trabaho namin. Nagbubuwis pa nga kami ng buhay. Pero nasisira kami sa mga komento. Maintindihan sana ang gawa namin," Marantan said.
He hopes that the public will understand their work, especially since they put their lives at risk in the line of duty. - report from ANC