Apr 242013
The soldiers implicated in the killing of 13 people in the infamous Atimonan bloodbath have asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the multiple murder charges filed against them.

In their joint counter-affidavit, the soldiers, led by Lt. Col. Monico Abang, denied that they conspired with the policemen in carrying out what investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said was a case of ambush.

The group reminded the prosecution team that it was from a soldier where the NBI found out that the police manning the checkpoint with them had tampered with the evidence at the crime scene.

“We would not have disclosed what we saw, taking into consideration that the police actions may be considered as our own act,” the soldiers argued.

“Without the statement of the undersigned respondents… the NBI would have not learned of this fact,” they added.

They also said they found nothing “suspicious” about the operation, which the police claimed was against a criminal group led by Vic Siman, who was among the 13 fatalities.

“There was nothing suspicious in the request made by the police that should have aroused our suspicion that our forces were tapped to form part of a concerted effort to perpetrate the commission of any crime,” they said.

“Aside from the sole request for military augmentation, there was no independent indication that the checkpoint will be used to camouflage in any case, the commission of a crime,” they added.

In its report, the NBI used one of the testimonies of the soldiers as basis for the obstruction of justice charge that was lodged against the suspects on top of the multiple murder complaint.

The NBI report, released in March, said one of the soldiers on the scene claimed to have seen policemen firing the guns of the victims to make it appear that the incident was a shootout.

The NBI also compared the spent cartridges recovered from the crime scene with the firearms surrendered by the police and military personnel that were allegedly used in the shootings. Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News

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