PNP chief defends forensic experts in Quezon probe

By Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 01 2013 08:04 AM | Updated as of Feb 01 2013 04:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima defended police forensic experts from criticisms that they failed to thoroughly process the crime scene in Quezon where 13 people were killed in a supposed shootout with policemen.

The remarks stemmed from the recovery of more slugs from the scene by medico-legal officers from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) tasked to conduct a deeper probe of the incident.

NBI Director Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, meanwhile, said the bureau now has a clear picture of what happened at the Atimonan checkpoint last Jan. 6.

He, however, refused to confirm reports that the controversial shootout was the result of a “conspiracy.”

Purisima said Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) analysts could have lost interest in thoroughly checking the crime scene because they were initially prevented from entering the area.

“They have reasons for committing those lapses. Somebody prevented them from entering the crime scene,” Purisima told editors and reporters during a visit to The STAR Tuesday night.

“SOCO lost the urge to work because they knew the crime scene had already been tampered with,” he said.

Earlier, the PNP chief placed the 22 policemen under restrictive custody for alleged involvement in the killing of a purported jueteng lord and 12 others.

He said the unfortunate incident would be used in further improving the delivery of services to the people.

Rojas declined to say what charges would be filed against those involved in the incident. He said he could not say when the Atimonan final report would be completed because they were still checking on a lot of things like the vehicles, the trajectories, firearms, ballistics tests and more.

He said they could not compel Superintendent Hansel Marantan, the leader of the joint police-military operation, to submit additional or supplemental affidavit if he does not want to. – With Sandy Araneta