MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) allowed the live coverage of the promulgation of judgment of the Maguindanao massacre case on December 19 through state broadcaster People’s Television (PTV).
In a press briefing, SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said PTV will be providing a live feed of the court proceedings from inside the Quezon City Jail-Annex courthouse of Regional Trial Court (Branch 221).
In a letter to PTV General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Julieta Claveria-Lacza dated December 5, Hosaka requested PTV last week to provide technical support and make the footage available for hook up to other news organizations.
Since it is an official court proceeding, Hosaka added that the SC Public Information Office would closely coordinate with the PTV coverage team before and during the promulgation.
Hosaka said up to 400 people are expected to attend the promulgation inside the courthouse in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
“Considering the number of accused and the parties, a ballpark figure I would say is around 400 individuals,” Hosaka said.
Government lawyers earlier asked the court trying the Maguindanao massacre case to order principal accused Zaldy Ampatuan’s return to jail from the Makati hospital where he is presently seeking treatment.
In a letter dated Nov. 19 to Solis-Reyes, Jail Superintendent Warden Jhon D. Montero of the Quezon City Jail said Ampatuan remains at a hospital in Makati City less than a month before the deadline of the promulgation of the case.
In November, the Supreme Court (SC) granted Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes’ request to be given more time to come up with a decision.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the court considered the huge volume of evidence and parties in the case in giving a 30-day extension to Solis-Reyes.
Under court rules, all trial courts should promulgate their decision within the 90-day period after the case has been submitted for decision.
The case has been submitted for decision on August 22 which means the deadline for its promulgation should have been on November 20, three days before the massacre’s 10th anniversary on November 23.
The attack resulted in the death of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, the single worst peace-time incident involving the killing of newsmen.
Other victims were family members and supporters of the Ampatuan clan’s political foe, Esmael Mangudadatu. Benjamin Pulta /PNA – northboundasia.com