MANILA, Philippines—Defense counsel Jose Roy III on Wednesday lashed out at the Philippine Daily Inquirer for publishing “unflattering” and “insulting” photos of the defense’s witness, Demetrio Vicente.
The front page of the Inquirer on Wednesday showed a montage of four close up photos of 70-year old Vicente’s facial expressions. Vicente informed the court during his testimony that he had suffered a stroke twice, leaving him with a difficulty in speaking.
Roy accused the Inquirer of being biased against Chief Justice Renato Corona by using photos that “demean the image of the witness.”
“The poor taste of using photographs to suggest or subliminally blacken the reputation of the [Chief Justice] or subliminally disseminate propaganda against the [Chief Justice] and his case is an unfortunate thing,” Roy told reporters.
“If they can convey their bias through photographs they will try and do it,” Roy told reporters.
“We think that … the slant against the CJ is quite clear and the slant in favor of the administration is evident,” Roy added.
Roy reacted to the statement released by Inquirer that those were the only images that they had by saying “of course the only photos they had were the ones that distorted the man’s image. Okay, if that is the level of their competence, then I’m glad they have admitted it.”
“Maybe we should tell everybody that, the Inquirer is only capable of taking pictures which are unflattering, which are insulting, which demean the image of the witness,” Roy said.
“If they felt they had no such intention then I’m sure they could have put other pictures there,” he added.
The reaction generated by the photos of Vicente, “confirms that either the Inquirer is attempting to discredit the case of the defense and the case of the CJ or they simply have bad taste,” Roy said.
“Of course we are all familiar with freedom of expression and press freedom, but as I said that while they may be entitled to put what they want on their covers, we are equally entitled to draw conclusions about what they’re trying to convey,” Roy said.
“I’m not surprised by what the Inquirer has done. We have tried very hard to view the Inquirer as doing its best to be objective but I’m afraid we’re unable to reach that conclusion,” he added.