Atimonan witnesses dismiss 'shootout' claim

Posted at Jan 17 2013 03:31 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2013 11:41 PM

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The Justice department says there was no shootout at a checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon where 13 men died.

Policemen and soldiers manning the checkpoint say the men engaged them in a gun battle when their two vehicles were flagged down.

The DOJ, however, says a re-enactment of the supposed shootout showed government troops opened fire first.

Witness accounts also say one of the victims were ready to surrender but was still shot.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also says the witnesses, who were initially reluctant to help out of fear for their lives, are now under the Witness Protection Program, along with their families.

- ANC News Now, 17 January 2013