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MANILA, Philippines -- A media organization is urging the Department of Justice to remove the former provincial administrator of Maguindanao as a witness in the electoral fraud case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and include him instead among those accused for the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said in a statement that Unas had only offered to testify against Arroyo to evade charges for allegedly engineering the attempt to cover up for the massacre.
This, said the group, was similar to what former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan attempted to offer Malacanang but was prevented by protests of the victims’ families and media organizations.
The group said that the decision of the Pasay regional trial court to grant Arroyo bail on a charge that is supposed to be non-bailable proved that Unas, who government earlier said was key in it case, was a "discredited and sham witness."
"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,” the NUJP said. “Not to do so would merely underscore that for this administration, political expediency trumps justice every time."