Zambo media wary over Zaldy Ampatuan’s offer to turn state witness

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/23 November) – Journalists here have expressed concern over the move of “one of the pinpointed planners” of the Maguindanao massacre to turn state witness.

The apprehension was expressed through a statement issued by the Zamboanga Press Club Inc. (ZPCI) in time for the second anniversary of the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre that killed 58 people including 32 media workers.

Of the 196 suspects, only 93 were arrested and detained including three members of the powerful Ampatuan clan-Andal, Sr., Andal, Jr., and Zaldy.

“One apprehension is that Zaldy, one of the pinpointed planners of such a demonic deed, proposes to be a state witness, by disowning his own family, just to save himself and his already doomed future,” the ZPCI said in a statement read by its president Felipe Abuy III.

“Maybe, some of us here don’t pay too much attention to such an attempt, but mind you, if we keep our guard down, he might fly out of jail and would continue to spend his remaining days on earth with impunity,” the ZPCI statement added.

The group urged President Benigno Simeon Aquino, III, to fast track the resolution of the Maguindanao massacre and “let all those responsible rot in jail.”

“While we appreciate that the Ampatuans and their cohorts are already locked up in jail, still, we cannot yet be assured that they will indeed pay for what they have done to our poor colleagues two years ago in the absence of convictions deserving of them,” the ZPCI said.

Meanwhile, Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) president Fr. Angel Calvo described the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre as a “tremendous wound all of us have suffered.”

“That kind of incident should not happen again,” Calvo stressed.

The ZPCI commemorated the second anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre by offering a mass at Saint Joseph Church presided by Fr. Froilan Pinuela and Calvo. (MindaNews)