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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE - 4:23 p.m.) The Department of Justice has recommended the filing of multiple murder charges against Chief Supt. James Melad, Supt. Hansel Marantan and several others for the Jan. 6, 2013 killing of 13 people at a supposed checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Wednesday.
The DOJ report of its inquiry was released by Malacanang, with the most telling detail: per the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation, no shootout took place as the officers of the composite police-military team claimed, and that the victims were in fact summarily executed.
The Quezon police had earlier claimed they had gunned down 13 members of a robbery syndicate who engaged them in a shootout as they were flagged down at a checkpoint. The most prominent fatality was Victor Siman, a local businessman who had been suspected of being an illegal gambling lord.
The Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines said they respected the filing of the charges.
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said all of the policemen involved in the Atimonan incident are accounted for in Camp Crame.
He added the PNP is willing to immediately turn them over to the DOJ if needed.
Superintendent Hansel Marantan remains confined at the PNP General Hospital.
Cerbo said the administrative case against the officers is already underway.
"We hope the PNP will emerge as a better organization after this," he said.