Justice Secretary Leila de Lima Tuesday thumbed down the offer of suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan to become a state witness in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao in November, 2009, which was allegedly perpetrated by his family.
While De Lima rejected outright Zaldy’s offer, Malacañang said it is still studying the possibility of making the suspended ARMM governor a state witness.
De Lima’s rejection came a day after Ampatuan told a group of television reporters that he was willing to name his father Andal Sr. and brother Andal Jr. as the leading perpetrators behind the country’s worst political violence that left 57 civilians dead, including 32 journalists.
Even the timing of Zaldy’s sudden willingness to be a state witness was questionable, De Lima said.
“I already said that we are not open to the offer of Zaldy [Ampatuan] to become a state witness,” the Justice Secretary told reporters in a news conference.
“It’s not a natural human behavior to go against your own brother and father. But of course, things like that happen; this is a harsh world. But because of that, we need to evaluate [Zaldy’s statements] thoroughly. Obviously, it’s for self-preservation. He wants to save himself and his family,” she added.
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