Monday, April 8, 2013

DOJ starts probe of Atimonan rubout case

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 8): DOJ starts probe of Atimonan rubout case

The first preliminary investigation of the bloody Atimonan shooting incident ended Monday after two hours of hearing.

The incident claimed the lives of 13 individuals in Atimonan, Quezon last Jan. 6.

The relatives and supporters of the victims, who are also the private complainants themselves in the case, and representatives of the National Bureau of Investigation attended the hearing.

The 11 Army soldier-respondents in the multiple murder charges, as well as the members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives of the Quezon Provincial Police Office, who were charged with "obstruction of justice," were all present during the hearing.

However, the 14 policemen-respondents in the multiple murder charges who are all under "restrictive custody" failed to appear.

During the hearing, the Army soldier-respondents submitted their joint counter-affidavit.

However, the respondents later withdrew their joint counter-affidavit upon learning that not all the private complainants have submitted their complaint-affidavits.

Atty. Elmer Train, counsel of the respondent-soldiers, argued they have the right to obtain a copy of all the complaint-affidavit to make sure that the contents of their counter-affidavit can answer the accusations stated in the affidavit of the complainants.

In the middle of the heated deliberation, the chairman of the investigating panel Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva called for a "recess."

When the hearing resumed, Villanueva announced that they are allowing the camp of the respondent-soldiers to withdraw their counter-affidavit, which was based on the findings of the NBI.

The panel ordered six of the 13 complainants to submit their affidavits until Thursday and Friday (April 11-12), 2013.

By Friday, the camp of the respondent soldiers will be furnished a copy of all the complaint-affidavits.

The next hearing was set on April 19, 2013 wherein the respondents are required to submit their respective counter-affidavits.

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