AN ALL-MEDIA petition for live-stream, open coverage of the promulgation of judgment on the Ampatuan Massacre cases was filed today before the Supreme Court by major print, television, radio, and online news agencies from across the country.
The petition noted that over the last 10 years, the widows and orphans of the 58 victims of the Ampatuan massacre have only been able to follow the trial via post-hearing reports and off-court broadcast by the news media.
The Ampatuan Massacre, the single-day deadliest attack on the media across the world, claimed the lives of 58 persons, including 32 journalists and media workers, on Nov. 23, 2009.
Allowing live coverage would allow families unable to travel to Manila to immediately hear the decision on the 58 counts of murder of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes presiding Judge, Branch 221 of the regional trial court of Quezon City.
Majority of the families of the victims reside in General Santos City, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Maguindanao.
The petition also cited that 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 additional signatories to the petition are the following news organizations and individual journalists:
• Ging Reyes for ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs;
• Jamela Alindogan for the board of Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP);
• Grace de la Pena for GMA7 News;
• The Mindanao Cross;
• Herbie Gomez for Mindanao Gold Star Daily;
• Amelia 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;
• 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.
— PCIJ, December 2019