The Supreme Court (SC) has junked the motions for reconsideration filed by Malacañang and several media entities asking the High Court to reverse its earlier ruling banning live media coverage during the trial of the accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case.
The court stated that it saw ‘no reason to reverse its earlier resolution disallowing the live media broadcast of the trial in Branch 221 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.
It cited the need to protect the rights of the accused, which include former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his son Andal Jr., former mayor of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao.
The court also cited the need to protect the dignity of the courts and the need to ensure an orderly conduct of the proceedings by disallowing cameras to be mounted inside the courtroom.
“The Court considered the practical aspects of broadcasted criminal trial proceedings in foreign jurisdictions, finding that most countries still do not allow cameras in their courtrooms,” said SC Public Information Officer Theodore Te.
A total of 58 people were killed, including 34 journalists, in the Maguindanao massacre (also known as the Ampatuan massacre) on November 23, 2009 in Ampa-tuan town, Maguindanao. The victims were on their way to filing a certificate of candidacy, contesting the Ampatuans’ rule in the province. The perpetrators tried to hide the killings by burying the victims and their vehicles using a government-owned heavy equipment.
The Committee to Protect Journalists have labeled the event as the single and most deadliest event in the history of journalism. The Philippines is also labeled as the most dangerous place for journalists, with at least 172 journalists killed since 1986.
The Ampatuan case, now on its 6th year, is being heard inside the jail facility in Bicutan, Taguig City where the primary suspects are also detained.