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CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City - The Calabarzon Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed Monday the identities of the 13 slain members of an alleged armed syndicate who were killed in a joint police and military shootout at a military checkpoint in the boundaries of Plaridel and Atimonan towns in Quezon Province in mid-afternoon Sunday.
In an interview, Police Superintendent Erwin Obal, PIO and spokesman of the Calabarzon PNP Regional Office, said on-going thorough investigations are being conducted especially with the concerned police units and a camp where the three lawmen and a soldier were allegedly assigned, respectively.
“We are conducting the progress reports. On the PNP personnel involved, we are extending our condolences to the bereaved families. As of now, we are still conducting the investigations in coordination with our intelligence operatives on the facts as to their involvement and their association with the civilians in their company,” Obal said.
He said police and military operatives also recovered from the slain suspects 11 caliber .45 guns, a 9 mm pistol, a baby Armalite, M-16 and M-14 rifles, all loaded with ammunitions.
The two Montero SUVs were registered under the name of a Gina Siman whom initial investigations alleged to be a kin of two of the slain victims from Calamba City.
Of the thirteen killed in the shootout, three were police personnel: Police Superintendent Alfredo Perez Consemino of Purok 3 EM’s Barrio Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba City; PO1 Jeffrey Valdez of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, and SPO1 Gruet Mantuano of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, and one was a soldier, Staff Sergeant Armando Lescano, of 407 Lt. Ano Street, Fernando Air Base, Lipa City.
Five were identified as residents of Barangay Maunong, Calamba City: Leonardo Marasigan, Conrado Decillo, Victorino Atienza Jr., Jerry Siman and Victor Siman.
Three others were Tirso Lontoc Jr. of Barangay Sta. Lucia in Dolores, Quezon; Jimbeam Dyico Justiniani of Quezon City and Paul Arcedillo Quiohilag of Biñan, Laguna.
Police sources said another slain suspect used two names through the identity cards bearing one Victor Gonzales of Candaba, Pampanga and Maximo Pelayo of Tigaon, Camarines Sur.
Obal disclosed the PNP hierarchy here called for a command conference Monday morning to cull as much information on the operations and circumstances surrounding the shootout.
“Kasama po natin yung (Lipa Airbase) Director nila although no elaboration was made yet. It was attended by several officers and we may be able to extract more information from their operations as soon as possible as they also coordinate with the Quezon provincial police and from Mindoro,” Obal explained.
Disparaging speculations due to involvement of the uniformed personnel, Obal said probers checked on the alleged police and soldier’s mission orders (or assignment) or if they were covered by official leaves of absence for the holiday break.
He also said police contacted the Lipa Airbase for verification of the slain military personnel.
Obal pointed out that carrying of firearms in civilian plain clothes is definitely a violation, a major infraction in accordance with the gun law.
At the same time, Obal said the Bicol PNP is coordinating with the Calabarzon PNP units through their operatives dispatched to probe into the alleged syndicate’s nefarious activities in the Bicol region before crossing over to Quezon province.
According to Obal, his Bicol counterpart Police Supt. Renato Bataller said its operatives continue to check on the veracity that the suspects came from Bicol and investigate the suspects’ earlier activities.
For his part, Bataller did not want to speculate that those involved uniformed personnel were either on AWOL or discharged from the service, describing that they remain in a complicated situation.
Obal however confirmed that “they are active kaya nga po natin vini-verify kung galing po sila sa New Year break. Kung galing po sila ng Bicol ibig sabihin po tumalon po sila ng area or sila ay dapat nasa mission order.”
Initial investigation disclosed that the first gun fire came from the suspects aboard the first Montero SUV at a checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon, prompting military and police elements to return fire.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año earlier denied claims that the slain Leonardo Marasigan and Maximo Pelayo were members of the military’s intelligence service (ISAFP).