THE Supreme Court has allowed live media coverage of the promulgation of a decade-old case involving the massacre of more than 50 people in Maguindanao province set for Dec. 19.
Media coverage will be subject to accreditation for security reasons and given the limited space, court spokesman Brian Keith F. Hosaka said at a briefing on Tuesday.
Several media groups earlier asked the high court to allow live media coverage of the promulgation. A media room with a widescreen television would be provided outside the courtroom, Mr. Hosaka said.
Media would not be allowed inside the courtroom due to limited space. About 400 people are expected to attend the promulgation, including the more than 100 accused and their relatives, as well as families of the more than 50 murder victims.
Two cameras of the state-run PTV 4 will be allowed inside the courtroom. Other media networks, including foreign correspondents, will have to hook up to these cameras for their live broadcast.
No other cameras, video recorders and mobile phones will be allowed inside the courtroom.
Several media groups earlier said the live coverage would benefit the families of the 58 murder victims — including 32 journalists — who mostly live in Mindanao.
They also said the live coverage would not prejudice the rights of the accused, and allowing the public to hear the ruling would boost “the public’s trust on transparency and accountability of court processes, particularly in how fair and just the case has been decided.”
Presiding Judge Jocelyn A. Solis-Reyes will lead the promulgation of the case.
She was supposed to rule before the 10th anniversary of the massacre on Nov. 23 but she asked the high court for more time due to voluminous records.
Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta on Monday said the judge “has been doing her job very well” as she gave all parties the chance to argue their case.
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism signed the letter to the Supreme Court. Editors, officers and other journalists from several networks and publications also signed in support of the request.
The other signatories were MindaNews, Philippine Press Institute, Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mindanao Times, Philippine Star and Interaksyon, Vera Files, ABS-CBN, Mindanao Gold Star Daily/GMA News 7 Network Cagayan de Oro, News5, Rappler, Notre Dame Broadcasting Corp., Radyo ni Juan Network and The Mindanao Cross. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas