BACOLOD CITY – A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel in Negros Occidental, charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, has expressed intention to become a state witness.
Aiza Gamao, 34, a mother of five, has been detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Escalante City for a year and a half now.
“After the presentation of prosecution witnesses and after a year in detention, Aiza expressed her desire to tell and to testify for the Philippine government,” Escalante City Prosecutor Ranela de la Fuente said in a press conference held at the Capitol Social Hall here on Monday afternoon.
“The detention has made her think that ‘the cause she was fighting for was not for the common good; the doctrine was not meant to bring peace and change but destruction and unrest’. And that she wanted to come out in the open and tell the truth,” she added.
De la Fuente said Gamao has executed an affidavit, which they have attached to the motion to discharge (the) accused to be turned into a state witness, filed on March 22, 2021, before the Regional Trial Court Branch 57 in San Carlos City.
Gamao was among the eight persons, alleged to be part of the NPA’s Northern Negros Front-Komiteng Rehiyon Negros, arrested by the police during a checkpoint operation in Barangay Jonob-jonob, Escalante City on Sept. 18, 2019.
They were found carrying firearms, ammunition, and improvised explosives.
Identified as an officer of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap or Kadamay, Gamao “has been in the left movement and has served the people at the prime of her youth,” de la Fuente said.
Lawyer Charo Tupas-Fajardo, the accused’s counsel on record, said they could not release a copy of Gamao’s affidavit yet as she has not been presented before the court. “The motion is still pending resolution,” she added.
Tupas-Fajardo said during her virtual meeting with Gamao for the execution of her affidavit, the accused stated that her desire to become a state witness was of her own volition and her voluntary decision.
A video, showing a part of their exchange, was shown during the press conference.
De la Fuente said they are aware that Gamao’s life could be in danger because she decided to become a state witness that’s why they went public about her case to protect her and her family.
“Even before we filed the motion to discharge Aiza, and her affidavit, there were already people inside the jail talking to her, trying to persuade her not to pursue her plans,” she said.
De la Fuente added that Gamao’s decision to testify for the state is a “breakthrough for the prosecution” as she admitted that handling criminal cases against suspected communists is hard because of the lack of witnesses.
“We want to take care of her, we want to protect her from all harms and let her testify and tell the truth in our quest for justice,” she added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)