Mindanao Times

SC asked to allow live media coverage of court ruling on Ampatuan Massacre


PRINT, television, radio, and online news agencies across the country have asked the Supreme Court in a petition filed Tuesday to allow “live coverage and streaming” of the promulgati­on of judgment on the Ampatuan Massacre cases on Dec. 19.

The petition, addressed to Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, also asked that the court designate a specific area within the courtroom as a media area/gallery during the promulgati­on.

The petition noted that in the last 10 years, the widows and orphans of the 58 victims of the Ampatuan massacre, most of them based in Mindanao, have only been able to follow the trial via post-hearing reports and off-court broadcast by the news media.

According to the peti

tion, allowing live coverage would allow families unable to travel to Manila to immediatel­y know the decision of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court Branch 221 in Quezon City, on the 58 counts of murder.

Fifty-eight persons were killed, 32 of them from the media, on November 23, 2009 when an estimated hundred armed men led by then Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. stopped a convoy led by Genalyn, wife of then Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadat­u, en route to the next town of Shariff Aguak, Maguindana­o, to file his certificat­e of candidacy for Governor.

Majority of the families of the victims reside in General Santos City, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Maguindana­o.

The petition also said the transparen­cy made possible by a live broadcast would help boost public trust in the judicial system.

The petition was signed and submitted by the officers of the National Union of Journalist­s of the Philippine­s (NUJP), Center for Media Freedom and Responsibi­lity (CMFR), and Philippine Center for Investigat­ive Journalism (PCIJ) that are part of the Freedom for Media, Freedom for All network of independen­t and profession­al media agencies.

The other signatorie­s are Ging Reyes for ABSCBN News and Current Affairs, Jamela Alindogan for the board of Foreign Correspond­ents Associatio­n of the Philippine­s (FOCAP), Grace de la Pena for GMA7 News, Eva Tan for the Mindanao Cross, Herbie Gomez for Mindanao Gold Star Daily, Amalia Cabusao for Mindanao Times, Carolyn O. Arguillas for MindaNews, Luchi Cruz-Valdez for News5 News and Public Affairs Department, Fr. Rogelio Tabuada, OMI for Notre Dame Broadcasti­ng Corporatio­n, Abel Ulanday for Philippine Daily Inquirer and inquirer.net, Ariel Sebellino for Philippine Press Institute (PPI), Camille Diola for philstar. com and Interaksyo­n, Dodong Solis for Radyo ni Juan Network, Maria Ressa for Rappler, Ellen Tordesilla­s for Vera Files, Ed Lingao of News 5, Manuel Mogato of News5 Digital, and Joyce Panares of The Manila Standard. (MindaNews)

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