Reveal Arroyo’s Skype conversations on Maguindanao massacre—prosecutors
MANILA, Philippines—Reveal Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Skype conversations on the Maguindanao massacre.
The prosecution in the Maguindanao massacre trial wants former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales Jr. to take the witness stand and reveal the orders President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave in a Skype video conference with ranking government officials in Tacurong City a day after the massacre.
Prosecution also wanted former election supervisor Lintang Bedol, former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, the former armed forces chief and retired lieutenant general Victor Ibrado to testify in the trial.
Their names were included on the list of more than 30 new prosecution witnesses named in a pre-trial court order on Oct. 5.
“Bert Gonzales has a lot of things to say. He was present at a meeting held a day after the massacre and before he visited the massacre site,” private prosecutor Nena Santos said during a break at the trial on Thursday.
“He might be summoned as a hostile witness,” she added.
Santos said the prosecution wanted to know from Gonzales the orders Ms. Arroyo gave to top military and police officials, and then Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Affairs Jesus Dureza, during a one-hour video conference a day after the massacre.
“I was there with Toto Mangudadatu at the (Army) 601st Brigade (camp) in Tacurong City but we were told to leave because they were going to have an executive meeting, a video conference (with Ms. Arroyo),” Santos said.
“We want to know what the (former) President said over Skype,” she said.
Santos said that the prosecution was also planning to have Bedol summoned so that he could shed more light on the “character” of the Ampatuans.
Meanwhile, Santos said that Mangudadatu visited Justice Secretary Leila de Lima at the Department of Justice in Manila on Wednesday to complain about the possible inclusion of former Maguindanao provincial administrator Norie Unas into the government’s Witness Protection Program.
She said De Lima told the Maguindanao governor that private complainants had the right to file a case against Unas.
“They can’t control us. That is within our rights,” Santos said.
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