By Jessica Zafra, Interaksyon.com
Dr. Maria Corazon de Ungria, director of the Philippine Genome Center’s Forensics and Ethnicity program shared with Ms. Jessica Zafra of InterAksyon.com the significance of DNA tests, and the Innocence Project Philippines.
After I saw “Give Up Tomorrow,” the documentary on the apparently wrongful arrest, trial, and conviction of Paco Larrañaga, I wondered how many innocent persons have been doomed to rot in our overcrowded jails. That’s how I heard about the Innocence Project Philippines, a network of law schools, non-governmental organizations and academic laboratories that “seeks to make justice accessible for wrongfully convicted persons.” Founded in 2012, the Innocence Project is presently headquartered at the DNA Analysis Laboratory at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
Being a compulsive viewer of the Law and Order shows and forensic dramas on TV, I asked for an interview with the head of the UP DNA Analysis Laboratory, Dr. Maria Corazon de Ungria. Unfortunately she didn’t have the time, but she did answer, via email, my very elementary questions about the initiative. A NAST Outstanding Young Scientist Awardee in 2003, De Ungria is also the director of the Program on Forensic and Ethnicity of the Philippine Genome Center. She gave technical assistance in the formulation of the Rules on DNA Evidence, and has been an expert witness in criminal cases.