NPC to appeal ruling on massacre trial coverage

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at Nov 13 2012 05:00 PM | Updated as of Nov 14 2012 01:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The National Press Club (NPC) on Tuesday said it is planning to file a motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Court ruling disallowing the live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial.

NPC President Benny Antiporda said it was unfortunate the SC released the ruling less than two weeks when the nation will mark the massacre's third anniversary this November 23.

"Hindi po maganda ito, dahil ito po ay taliwas sa sinasabi ng ating pamahalaan na ito pong pamahalaan na ito ay transparent," Antiporda told dzMM.

"Biglaan itong inilabas na para bang adding insult to injury 'yung ginagawa nila, pero tayo ay hindi pa rin nawawalan ng pag-asa. With due repect sa Korte Suprema, tayo po ay magpa-file ng apela at pina-rereview na po natin ito sa ating abogado."

Antiporda said the SC resolution is a disservice to the public, who should be informed about the developments in the high-profile case.

"Kung sakaling itatago sa taumbayan o ayaw ipakita sa taumbayan kung ano ang mangyayari sa proceedings, diyan lalabas itong mga haka-haka o 'yung mga hula-hula na nagkakaroon ng hocus pocus sa kaso. Huwag nating hayaang magkaroon ng ganitong damdamin sa taumbayan," he said.

The SC on Monday partially granted the motion for reconsideration of accused Andal Ampatuan Jr. who told the high court that a live broadcast coverage of the trial "deprives him of his rights to due process, equal protection, presumption of innocence, and to be shielded from degrading psychological punishment."

"While this court recognizes the freedom of the press and the right to public information, which by the way are rights that belong to non-direct parties to the case, the rights of the direct parties should not be forgotten. In a clash among these competing interests and in terms of the values the Constitution recognizes, jurisprudence makes it clear that the balance should always be weighed in favour of the accused," the ruling read.

However, a real-time streaming of the trial will still be allowed outside of the court room in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, as well as in Maguindanao, Koronadal, South Cotabato, and General Santos City where the relatives of the accused and victims are based. The proceedings will also be taped for documentation purposes and the materials will be deposited in the National Museum and the Records Management and Archives Office.