Include Norie Unas in the list of Ampatuan massacre suspects
Now that the Pasay Regional Trial Court has granted bail to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the supposedly non-bailable case of electoral sabotage, it is time the Department of Justice reject once and for all the devil’s bargain it made with what it once touted as its star witness, the thoroughly discredited and sham state witness, Norie Unas, former provincial administrator of Maguindanao.
It was clear from the start that Unas sought to become a state witness not out of any sudden attack of conscience at having helped steal the vote in 2007, but to extricate himself from a decidedly more serious charge, that of engineering the attempts to cover up his former masters’ responsibility for the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre.
It was the same nefarious deal Zaldy Ampatuan and Malacanang would have struck had not the families of victims and media organizations relentlessly maintained vigilance over the case and raised such a ruckus as to shame them into calling the deal off.
We do not doubt that massive electoral fraud happened in Maguindanao in 2007, just as it did on an even greater scale in 2004.
But prosecuting the case against Arroyo on the clearly self-serving testimony of one such as Unas is an even greater injustice, as much to the Filipino people as to the victims of the most vicious act of electoral violence in our country’s recent history and the single deadliest attack on the media ever.
We demand that Unas be struck out as a witness and placed where he rightfully belongs, among the ranks of those accused of complicity in the Ampatuan massacre.
Not to do so would merely underscore that for this administration, political expediency trumps justice every time.
Rowena Paraan, NUJP Secretary-General
Mobile phone: (+63) 09175486818