SC okays massacre case live coverage

December 10, 2019

THE Supreme Court yesterday approved a media request for live media coverage of the Quezon City regional trial court’s promulgation of judgment in the infamous 2009 Maguindanao massacre case.

In a press briefing, SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka however disclosed that the number of media personnel who will be allowed inside the courtroom will be limited to ensure order.

“This will be a formal and official court proceeding and we want to maintain order,” he told reporters.

Hosaka divulged only accredited journalists will be allowed entry into the BJMP compound in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig where the QC Jail Annex is located, on December 19.

Due to limited space and security concerns, Hosaka also disclosed only two cameras (one camera for the judge and the person reading the decision, and the other one dedicated for parties and lawyers) from the government-operated PTV4 will be allowed inside the courtroom.

The PTV4 cameras will be controlled by the SC Public Information Office which Hosaka currently heads.

Local and foreign media outfits will be allowed to hook up or be linked with PTV4’s coverage, Hosaka added.

Furthernmore, Hosaka said that no cellphones, cameras, audio video recording equipment shall be allowed the courtroom, except the equipment being used by PTV4 and SCPIO.

Also, the high court decreed that there shall be no media interviews before and during the promulgation of judgment to maintain peace and order inside the courtroom.

“We are thinking of coming up with an interview area,” he said, adding the SCPIO would come up with the specific media guidelines within the week.

Last week, several media organizations asked Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta to allow a live media coverage of the December 19 promulgation of the infamous Ampatuan massacre.

In a letter-request, the media groups led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippine, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism stressed the live media coverage would allow relatives of the victims who may not be able to attend the promulgation to hear and watch the proceedings.

Also, the groups continued that this would also allow the general public to hear and watch how the QC court decides on the single most atrocious media killing in the world.

The groups assured Peralta that the live media coverage would not violate the rights of the accused inasmuch as the promulgation will merely read the judge’s decision.

The Maguindanao massacre (or Ampatuan massacre) claimed the lives of 58 individuals including 32 media workers on November 23, 2009.