Gov’t pleads for live airing of Maguindanao massacre trial



The government, through the office of the Solicitor General has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling barring the live broadcast of the Maguindanao massacre trial.

In a motion for reconsideration, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said live radio and television coverage of the trial would not be prejudicial to the constitutional rights of the accused.

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221, who is hearing the multiple murder case, was furnished a copy of the pleading.

In an en banc resolution on Oct. 23, the Supreme Court partially granted accused Andal Ampatuan Jr.’s motion for reconsideration of its June 14, 2011, ruling.

The Oct. 23 en banc resolution modified portions of the guidelines for media coverage issued on June 14, 2011, which initially allowed live media coverage of the Maguindanao massacre based on a set of guidelines.


The high court ruled that in a clash among competing interests, the balance should always be weighed in favor of the accused.

But the solicitor general stressed the case should be aired live as “it is through a public showing of the trial that transparency in the administration of justice is achieved.”

He said that keeping the landmark trial out of the public eye would cause the people’s interest to wane as time goes by.

The Maguindanao massacre where 57 persons were brutally killed occurred on Nov. 23, 2009, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao. The principal suspects are members of the politically powerful Ampatuan clan that controlled the province and other parts of Mindanao.

“Media coverage of trials of sensational cases—more so those where the accused are reasonably perceived to be politically well-entrenched, financially strong and violently capable—should instead be encouraged,” the OSG said in its pleading.

The Public Interest Law Center, which represents some of the heirs of the 57 massacre victims, has filed a similar appeal in the Supreme Court.

According to the OSG, live media coverage of the judicial proceedings should be viewed generally for what it is and for its propitious influence on the administration of justice.

“To be sure, while pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of the accused to a fair trial, the impartiality of a judge is not necessarily affected,” the OSG noted.

The solicitor general also stressed that “a criminal case is not decided by the mob of opinion but by a judge who is learned in law and whose impartiality is expectedly unaffected by a barrage of publicity.”

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • tonyoks

    The high court ruled that in a clash among competing interests, the balance should always be weighed in favor of the accused.
    so again, sino ba ang “accused” dito o mga “accused” kundi ang mga ampatuan lang naman dba?

    mga amputaan na nanghasik ng kamatayan at takot sa sinumang kumuntra sa kanila sa basbas ng isang pekeng presidente …

    at sino naman ang mga nasa high court na ito na nagsasabing ” the balance should always be weighed in favor of the accused” kundi ang mga walanghiyang mga appointee ng pekeng presidente na siya ding may basbas sa pangaabuso nitong mga ampatuan na to…

    so what else is new???

    taka pa kau???

  • Htee

    Kahit ano, ke live coverage o hindi, basta bilisan lang. Ang tagal naman kasi, gasgas na ohhh. Andyan na ang suspect na ang daming nagtuturo na sya nga, bakit hindi bigyan ng taning na panahon ang accuse na magbigay ng kanilang depensa at pagkatapos sentensya na. Isa lang muna, ang pinuno ng pangkat, saka na himaymayin ang iba…pleeeeeease.

  • Pedro


  • patawad

    Abahhhh,  may kaso ba mga ampatuans?  ang alam ko nalibing na rin ang kaso.  Pustahan mamatay na lang lahat ang mga akusado, di pa tapos yan, kung meron man.  I will just remember it happened during the term of Arroyo, ngayon sinong presidente in the future kaya ito matatapos, umaasa pa ba kayo?

  • Chameleon08

    Even with the horrible massacre of 20 children in Connecticut cannot compare to the barbaric slaughter of 57 people by the evil Ampatuan clan. Yet look at our President. He never asserts his leadership to give justice soonest to the bereaved families of the murdered victims. This case will just fade away as the murderers wish.

  • ellatovara

    Please Justices of the Supreme Court let the world see how the trial is proceeding.  The world was a witness to the bodies of the 57 innocent people killed by these animals.  The world also witnessed how these victims were burried like animals.    Please, the world deserves to know what is happening during the hearing.

    Please, please Justices of the Supreme Court, let the media in so we could be witnesses.

  • virgoyap

    If live coverage was allowed during the Corona impeachment, how come it’s not allowed in the Ampatuan trial? What’s the difference?

  • johndcross1

    Allow live media (TV) coverage. What is wrong with you at the Supreme Court?  The accused are amply protected of their constitutional rights.  The people who cannot attend the hearing have also the right to see & hear the proceedings.  Are the rights of the people to see & hear the proceedings inferior to that of the accused? You must be kidding or all of you are out of your mind.

  • adamson11

    The accuse criminals are just loving this, 1) its delaying the trial with this motions of adversaries, 2) their money are paying off with their lawyers and elsewhere… knowing well that the longer this trial drag on the more prosecutors lawyers/judges are prone to take their bribe money, 3) they are realizing that the present administration is only good in talk like many president before in making their promises proof many of their clan are running for elective post in both parties admini and opposition to secure victory and hold of their municipalities named after them….

  • Your_King

    Aquino’s government should plead for a speedy trial and speedy conviction. They all seemed to be more concerned with the allure that the trial will bring and the curiosity of it all rather than justice for the victims and their families.

  • Darwin

    Live coverage so that the palace can pontificate and have something to talk about during elections…in lieu of something important like…accomplishment or performance. Bread and circus for the masses!

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos