• Contempt raps vs reporter to proceed

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    THE Court of Appeals refused to issue an injunction order seeking to stop a Quezon City court from hearing a petition for contempt filed by former Mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr. of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao against broadcast journalist Jorge Cariño of ABS-CBN.

    In a 12-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Ramon Cruz and concurred in by Associate Justices Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Marlene Gonzales-Sison, the appellate court’s Second Division junked the petition for certiorari and prohibition with applications for temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of preliminary injunction, asking the court to annul and set aside the orders of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Afable Cajigal dated June 8, 2012 and August 14, 2012.

    On June 23, 2010, ABS-CBN through its news program TV Patrol World aired an interview of Lakmodin “Laks” Saliao by Cariño.

    Claiming to a former “alalay” [ally]of the Ampatuan clan, Saliao narrated how he was present at two meetings where the Ampatuans allegedly planned the Maguindanao Massacre in November 2009.

    Saliao named members of the Ampatuan family who attended the meeting. He claimed that he had discovered that he ws going to be killed by the Ampatuans since he knew too much about the execution of around 60 persons, including more than 30 journalists.

    Because of the interview and of the pendency of the criminal cases against the accused, Andal Jr. instituted a petition for contempt, where he prayed that ABS-CBN and Cariño be cited in contempt for conducting and airing Saliao’s interview. He also asked that ABS-CBN be prohibited from making further statements in any forum or media in violation of the sub judice rule during the pendency of the Maguindanao Massacre murder cases.

    After an exchange of pleadings, the RTC denied petitioners’ motion for reconsideration, prompting them to elevate the case to the appeals tribunal.

    In its March 24, 2015, the appellate court held that a petition for certiorari is not proper remedy in the case.

    “Petitioners must proceed to trial where they can fully ventilate their issues and arguments and then appeal if an adverse decision is eventually rendered,” the appellate court pointed out.

    “There is no clear showing that petitioners [ABS-CBN and Cariño] have sufficiently alleged a clear and unmistakable right to, and that there is an extremely urgent and paramount necessity for, said injunctive reliefs,” it added.

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