MANILA, Philippines -- One of the police officials who gave a go signal for the plan in Atimonan, Quezon that led to the deaths of 13 men insisted Wednesday that the operation was legitimate and valid.
Supt. Glenn Dumlao, head of the Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Calabarzon police, appeared before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at around 2 p.m. Wednesday.
He said he wants to show that he is cooperating with the NBI on its investigation into the case operational plan dubbed as "Coplan Armado."
"Nag-comply lang kami sa utos ng superiors namin para maipakita namin kooperasyon namin sa iba, sa imbestigasyon na ito. Everybody gusto namin malaman ang katotohanan para sa publiko," he told radio dzMM.
Dumlao reiterated that the shootout was a legitimate operation against a suspected organized crime group allegedly led by Vic Siman, who was one of the 13 men killed in the encounter last January 6.
Siman was an alleged operator of illegal numbers game jueteng in the region.
"Tungkol sa coplan ganoon pa rin...valid 'yung coplan, legitimate 'yung operation," he said.
"Legitimate naman kasi 'yung mga target namin so mandate namin 'yung to go after mga organized crime groups," Dumlao added.
Aside from Dumlao, sacked Calabarzon police director Chief Supt. James Melad and Supt. Hansel Marantan, the regional intelligence officer who tipped the Quezon police about the alleged gun-for-hire group, also signed the coplan proposal.
The legitimacy of the January 6 encounter Atimonan is now being investigated by the NBI after doubts were raised over the intention of Marantan, who has been accused of being involved in jueteng operations in the region.
It has been alleged that Marantan set up the checkpoint in order to kill Siman, his group's alleged jueteng turf rival.
Melad was relieved from his post on Tuesday following yet another questionable police operation that led to the death of alleged Siman aide, Fernando "Pandoy" Morales, on Monday. -- Report from Zhander Cayabyab, dzMM