MANILA, Philippines - The families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre is requesting an audience with President Benigno Aquino III amid rumors he is talking to the camp of suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan regarding the latter’s offer to become state witness.
In a letter, the families said, “the greatest fear of the heirs of the victims, as well as state witnesses, whose families were subjected to death and threats are very much afraid of what the government is allegedly doing to grant [him] request as state witness.”
The families, through a letter request from lawyer Nena Santos, said the granting of Ampatuan’s supposed request “will destroy the massacre cases as we have already started the trial of 89 accused, including Andal Jr. and Andal Sr.”
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, lawyer Redemberto Villanueva clarified his client has no intentions of being discharged as a state witness to the notorious case, but is only seeking security via the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).
However, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Ampatuan's statement is "insufficient right now," but it is still being studied and assessed in connection with the evidence he can offer.
The kin of the victims raised their contentions following news that Ampatuan has turned his back against his family. They questioned Ampatuan’s motives.
“Please allow us, including the private prosecutors who worked since day one to explain and express our dissent in accepting Zaldy as state witness,” the families said.