MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) allowed the live media coverage of the release of the court verdict on the decade-old Maguindanao massacre case on Dec. 19.
SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said SC justices have unanimously voted for the live airing of the verdict reading at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City on Tuesday.
“Because of the paramount public interest involved in this case, the Supreme Court, which is overseeing the matter, would like to have live television coverage of the proceedings,” Hosaka said
According to Hosaka, due to space constraints and security concerns, only accredited members of the media will be allowed in a designated media room inside the police camp.
Other reporters, however, will be able to see the proceedings from a screen in the media room showing live footage taken by state media PTV4. Recording devices other than the PTV4 and the SC’s cameras are prohibited inside the courtroom itself.
Last month, several news outfits, journalists’ organizations and government communications agencies have petition to allow the media to cover live the release of verdict.
Backed by mainstream news outlets, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism said a live coverage would benefit relatives of the massacre victims who could not afford to fly to Manila.
The verdict on the Maguindanao massacre will be handed down by the Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 at the Quezon City Jail Annex at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City at 9 a.m.
The promulgation of judgment on the infamous massacre against more than a hundred defendants will be the culmination of a 10-year case at the trial court level.
Several Ampatuans and alleged members of their private army were charged for conspiring to kill 58 people, 32 of whom were journalists, on a hill in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009.
The incident is known as the Philippines’ worst case of election-related violence and the single deadliest attack on members of the press since detailed records were kept./PN