'Complex crime of direct assault with murder, theft'

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Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says the first tranche of cases did not cover possible charges in relation to the death of 9 other members of the 84th Seaborne Company who penetrated the lair of Marwan.

(CNN Philippines) — Two Americans were among those killed in the infamous Mamasapano shootout that left 44 police troopers dead three months ago.

This was the testimony of a certain "Marathon" as contained in a 225-page report released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the media on Wednesday (April 22).

Marathon is the code name of the principal eyewitness of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and National Prosecution Service (NPS) joint team of probers of the Maguindanao clash that also killed 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members and 5 civilians.

On page 162 of the report, Marathon said that he found out that "two Americans" were lying dead in the cornfield, describing them as "good-looking with white hair."

If his statements were to be taken into account, a total of 69 —  not 67 — persons perished on that fateful January 25 morning. 

This could also run counter with the police and military pronouncements that no American forces — except for surveillance and medical evacuation — took part in Oplan Exodus which resulted in the killing of international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan.

Another new revelation in the NBI-NPS report is Marathon's account that a few hours into the gun battle around 9 a.m., five wounded Special Action Force (SAF) troopers stood up and walked across the cornfield with their hands raised, "pleading for their lives" — but were shot dead instead.

The main eyewitness, whom state investigators said was at the site during the bloody gun battle, also said that around 250 combined combatants of the MILF, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups (PAG) attacked the outnumbered policemen — killing 35 blocking force troopers of the 55th Special Action Company (SAC).

Marathon also described how he saw the MILF, BIFF and private armed groups working in unison and, at times, were even borrowing guns from each other.

Meanwhile, the report said what happened was not a massacre nor a misencounter — "but somewhat in between these two extremes." 

With the release of the NBI-NPS findings, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima said state prosecutors were readying charges against 90 Moro rebels for the complex crime of direct assault with murder and theft. For security reasons, she added, the names of the suspects were blackened out on the pages of the voluminous report.

De Lima added that this would only be the first tranche of cases and did not cover possible charges in relation to the death of 9 other members of the 84th Seaborne Company who penetrated the lair of Marwan.

She said she has given the NBI-NPS team two more months to come up with the second tranche of the report.

CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.