QUEZON – Investigators of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) returned to Atimonan, Quezon Thursday along with Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.
With the help of witnesses, they re-enacted the bloody shooting incident that left 13 people dead.
The witnesses said the two SUVs carrying the group of Vic Siman were blocked by a military truck and an armed man carrying a checkpoint sign.
The passengers were asked to alight by an un-uniformed police officer.
When they refused, the vehicles were peppered with bullets.
“’Yung mga naka-sibilyan, sila ang nagbigay ng order na ‘fire.’ So volley of fires that went on for around 20 seconds,” said De Lima.
There was one shot from one of the SUVs then another volley of gunfire from the cops and soldiers manning the checkpoint.
The witnesses also told De Lima that two of the victims, including environmentalist Jun Lontok emerged from their vehicle ready to surrender.
But they were still shot.
De Lima said the witnesses are now under government's protective custody.
“They are civilian witnesses, so wala silang motibo na mag-imbento ng nakita nila,” said De Lima.
The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) supposedly thumbed down the funding for the Quezon operation but still approved it.
On Friday, PAOCC officials are expected to show up at the NBI to shed light on the matter.
De Lima, a member of PAOCC, is asking all those involved to help the NBI get to the bottom of the incident.
“Maglakas ng loob na diyan na magsabi na din ng katotohanan, hindi ‘yung susunod lang sila sa opisyal nila,” she said.
The NBI is expected to come out with its official findings next week. -- ANC