'Shootout cop' earlier sued by one of 13 slain men

By Jaime Laude and Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 09 2013 07:10 AM | Updated as of Jan 09 2013 08:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The police official wounded in last Sunday’s armed encounter in Quezon province is facing a complaint for multiple murder filed last November in Calamba by one of the 13 fatalities.

Superintendent Hansel Marantan had figured in several other controversial operations wherein lawmen took no prisoners.

He was part of the police contingent led by Superintendent Ramon Balauag at the checkpoint where the alleged shootout occurred, at the boundary of Plaridel and Atimonan towns in Quezon.

Other reports identified Marantan as the police team leader.

Marantan was the only member of the joint police-military contingent wounded in the armed encounter, which relatives of some of the 13 slain men described as a rubout. He was hit in the hand and feet.

Sources said Marantan’s sister was a rival of Victorino Siman, who also reportedly goes by the name Victorino Atienza Jr., in illegal gambling operations in Southern Luzon.

Siman was among the 13 killed in last Sunday’s encounter.

Marantan has denied having a sibling engaged in illegal gambling.

Siman’s brother Gerry, another fatality in the encounter, reportedly filed the complaint for multiple murder against Marantan before the Calamba regional trial court last November.

The charges stemmed from the killing of six men in Calamba City, Laguna on Nov. 18, 2012 by a police team.

The police said the six were guns-for-hire and were suspected of involvement in the murder of a police officer in Cabuyao town in October.

Sources yesterday said the six slain men were bookies or bet collectors of Siman.

A spot report prepared by Senior Superintendent Valeriano de Leon, Quezon police provincial director, identified Marantan as the only member of the Southern Tagalog Regional Intelligence Division in last Sunday’s checkpoint contingent.

There were 24 police personnel and 25 Army soldiers who participated in the operation.

Marantan also faced murder charges, as recommended by the Commission on Human Rights, in connection with the killing of three men described by the police Highway Patrol Group as carjackers on Nov. 7, 2005.

Video footage taken by a crew of UNTV showed the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) team, which included Marantan, chasing a maroon Nissan Exalta (XDD 828) along Garnet Street in Ortigas Center in Pasig City.

The HPG overtook the car and opened fire, killing Anton Co-Unjieng, Francis Manzano and Byan Anton Dulay.

Relatives denied that the three were carjackers, and sued the HPG team for multiple murder.

The HPG team said it tried to pull over the Exalta for a traffic violation but it sped away. The murder case is still pending.

A year later, in May 2006, Marantan led a team from the Traffic Management Group (TMG) in chasing four men from Quezon City to Bulacan, where the four were shot dead.

The TMG said the four were suspected car thieves who were about to rob a convenience store in Quezon City. The police reported recovering an Armalite rifle and two .38 caliber revolvers from the four men.

In 2008, Marantan was part of a police team that engaged members of the Waray Waray robbery gang in a running gun battle in Parañaque.

The firefight killed the robbery suspects but also a passing motorist, Alfonso de Vera, 53, and his seven-year-old daughter Lia Allyana.

Twenty-five of the policemen in the operation faced criminal charges for the killings but Marantan was spared.

Marantan is the representative of the Kabalikat Class 1998 of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) and is a bemedalled police officer.

On Jan. 15, 2009, the PNP Badge of Honor Foundation Inc. donated cash to Marantan when he underwent surgery for multiple herniated slipped discs.

Chief Superintendent Abner Dimabuyu, Southern Tagalog regional director for administration, supported Marantan and said the police officer was just doing his job. – With Ed Amoroso, Michelle Zoleta