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The controversial "Atimonan massacre" (screengrab from Bandila)

Venue of the trial of Marantan, et al. transferred from RTC-Gumaca to RTC-Manila

The controversial "Atimonan massacre" (screengrab from Bandila)
The controversial “Atimonan massacre” (screengrab from Bandila)

LUCENA CITY, Philippines – Acting on the request of the prosecution, through Prosecutor General CLARO A. ARELLANO, the Supreme Court, in a Resolution dated 9 June 2014, ordered the transfer of venue of Criminal Case No. 12508-G, “People of the Philippines v. P/Supt. Hansel Marantan, et al.,” for multiple murder, from the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 61, Gumaca, Quezon to the RTC of Manila. Said case stemmed from the 6 January 2013 incident, now known as the “ATIMONAN AMBUSH”, which claimed the lives of thirteen (13) persons, including VIC SIMAN and TIRSO P. LONTOK, JR.

All accused in said case are officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Except for three (3) who are at large, all accused are presently detained at the PNP Detention Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City.

In his request for transfer of venue, PG Arellano cited the “greater security risk involved” in transporting all the accused from Camp Crame to Gumaca to attend hearings, not to mention the higher costs in doing so. PG Arellano’s letter also pointed to the climate in Gumaca, Quewn as “not conducive to the holding of trial as the witnesses, as well as the accused, are vulnerable to threats from extremists in the area, considering the political and economic status of the personalities involved in these cases, and the geographical location of the said municipality.

Aside from granting the prosecution’s request, the SC also authorized the Executive Judge to raffle the case and directed the judge to whom the case will be raffled “to proceed with the trial and hearing thereof and to DECIDE the same with dispatch.”

Fully agreeing with the SC’s disposition, Justice Secretary LEILA M. DE LIMA directed the handling prosecutors, through the Prosecutor General, to ensure speedy handling of the case and resist dilatory maneuvers from the accused’s end.”

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.