MANILA, Philippines – A relative of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, one of the slain men in the police encounter in Quezon on Sunday, has been implicated by retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz in jueteng operations.
Asked if he has encountered the name of Tirso Lontoc in the list of personalities involved in the illegal numbers game, Cruz said: "Opo, naririnig ko po iyan bagaman wala sa listahan – dahil iyun ay para lamang sa matataas - pero nandodoon ang pangalan na iyan."
Lontoc was one of the 13 killed in men in the police encounter in Atimonan on Sunday afternoon.
Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, who sought a congressional inquiry into the incident, said in a Philippine Star report that Lontoc was a relative of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
Lontoc was known as an environment advocate. When Eddie Rodriguez was Quezon governor, Lontoc had organized a group called the Luntiang Alyansa sa Bundok Banahak to protect Mt. Banahaw. He also launched a province-wide clean-up campaign called “Quezon Laban sa Basura.”
Suarez said he has asked his staff to draft a resolution, to be filed this week, seeking an inquiry into the incident.
"There's more than meets the eye in this alleged shootout. I know that guy Consemino to be the regional police commander for Mimaropa. He could just have introduced himself to those manning the checkpoint and the whole thing could have been avoided," he said.
Suarez said he knew Lontoc.
"He is a relative of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala (a former Quezon congressman). I know him to be a good person. He once worked for a mayor of Sariaya town. That is why this story is a puzzle to me. Malalim ito (This is deep)," he said.
Apart from Lontoc, the prelate also admitted to hearing the name of Supt. Hansel Marantan as among those involved in jueteng operations.
Marantan of the Quezon police regional intelligence office allegedly has a brother who operates a small town lottery in Calamba.
Marantan was wounded during the alleged encounter in Quezon province Sunday.
"Opo, nababanggit din po yan, kaya lang hindi gasino matingkad ang pangalan pagkat wala pa masyado sa taas - parang di pa gaanong pamosong masasabi," Cruz said.
Cruz also described Vic Siman, the group's alleged leader, as being either third or fourth in the hierarchy of jueteng personalities in the region.
Cruz believes the shooting incident may have been a turf war over the illegal numbers game jueteng or over jueteng kickbacks.
Meanwhile, Director General Alan Purisima, chief of the Philippine National Police, has ordered an investigation into allegations that the killing of 13 people in Atimonan was due to a turf war over jueteng.
Purisima said a fact-finding team, led by Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Deputy Chief Senior Supt. Federico Castro, has been sent to Quezon to shed light into the shooting incident that killed 13 people, including 3 Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) policemen and a soldier.
Some of the relatives of the slain suspects, initially tagged as belonging to the Siman gun-for-hire group, have appealed for an investigation into the incident.
They believe that the incident was a rubout. – with The Philippine Star