BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
One of the eight suspects arrested in Brgy. Jonob-Jonob, Escalante City in 2019, days before the celebration of the infamous Escalante massacre, who are presently in jail for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, has executed an affidavit in relations to her intention to become a state witness, her counsel, Charo Fajardo, said yesterday.
Fajardo, however, refused to elaborate on details of the affidavit of Aiza Gamao, as she has yet to be presented in court, pending the resolution of her motion in court.
Gamao, who is affiliated with the KADAMAY (Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap), was among the eight suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) arrested by the police during a checkpoint operation in Barangay Jonob-jonob, Escalante City, on Sept. 18, 2019.
Their arrests yielded six .45 caliber Colt pistols, a .38 caliber revolver, and a KG9 machine pistol with ammunition, three rifle grenades, two improvised dynamites, and 21 improvised petrol bombs, based on the inventory of the police.
Escalante City Prosecutor Ranela dela Fuente said during a press conference yesterday at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City, following a peace rally at the Capitol Lagoon, that the firearms and explosives were seized, while they were doing a “recorida” for the famous or infamous Escalante Massacre anniversary on Sept. 20.
After the presentation of prosecution witnesses and a year of detention, Aiza, a mother of five, expressed her desire to tell and to testify for the Philippine government, de la Fuente said.
She added that the detention has made her think that “the cause she was fighting for was not for the common good; and the doctrine was not meant “ to bring peace and change but destruction and unrest”. She added that she wanted to come out in the open and tell the truth.
Dela Fuente also said that they decided to go public about the issue, to protect her and familly, as her life might be in danger, because of her intention to to tell the truth in favor of the government.
‘”Prosecuting cases involving communists is very, very hard to do, due to lack of witnesses”, dela Fuente, said as she noted that the prosecution of cases involving communist terrorists in northern Negros has a very dismal record.
When Aiza came out and expressed her desire to testify in favor of the government, that was a breakthrough, for the prosecution, she added.
“We want to take care and protect her, to let her testify and tell the truth in her quest for justice”, dela Fuente said, as she confirmed attempts inside the Escalante District Jail to persuade her not to do so.
Col. Michael Samson, 303rd Infantry Brigade acting commander, yesterday said that they are more than willing to protect Aiza and her family, while Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap assured assistance to those in need of help from the city government.*