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MANILA, Philippines - Officers and enlisted personnel of the Armed Force of the Philippines involved in the Atimonan massacre will face dismissal from service following President Benigno Aquino III's order to slap with murder charges all military and police personnel linked to the January 6 incident in Quezon province, AFP Judge Advocate Brig. Gen. Marian Aleido said on Wednesday.
Aleido said the enlisted personnel involved could be dismissed right away but the officers would need to be subjected first to court martial.
"[E]nlisted personnel...can be summarily discharged without need of a trial. We have Circular 17, series of 1987 that authorizes the AFP to separate or dismiss enlisted personnel who are involved in incidents like this," she added.
With respect to military officers, Aleido said it would be up to AFP chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista to decide whether "to leave their fate" to the General Court Martial or the Effuiciency and Separation Board (GCM).
"But most likely they may be brought to the GCM," said Aleido.
The identified involved military officers are Lieutenant Colonel Monico Abang, commanding officer of the 1stSpecial Forces Battalion and Captain Erwin Macalinao, commanding officer of the 3rd Special Forces Company of said battalion.
Aquino has upheld the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)'s findings that the operation led by Police Superintendent Hansel Marantan in Atimonan was a rubout, contrary to claims by military and police personnel involved in the incident.
According to the NBI report released by Malacanang, no shootout took place as the officers of the composite police-military team claimed and that the victims were in fact summarily executed.
The Department of Justice has recommended the filing of multiple murder charges against Marantan, Chief Supt. James Melad, 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.