Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed solidarity with media organizations calling for an open and live coverage of the Dec. 19 promulgation of the court ruling on the criminal cases involving the 2009 Ampatuan massacre.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, said the proposed live media coverage of the ruling would allow the entire Filipino public to see the court process and witness how the long overdue case will pan out.
“I support the calls of media organizations for the open and live coverage of the scheduled promulgation of the decision in the Ampatuan Massacre case on Dec. 19,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 661.
“This case is the single, most horrific crime – multiple murder – in modern Philippine history, in terms of the number of victims which include media practitioners and the beastly nature of the killings,” she added.
Last Dec. 3, journalists representing different media organizations filed before the Supreme Court a petition for an open coverage of the landmark decision on the Ampatuan Massacre case.
The petition, led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, was co-signed by executives and editors of ABS-CBN, GMA, News 5, Rappler, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer.net, Philstar.com, among others.
The promulgation of the verdict against those charged for the massacre, which left 50 people dead, including 32 journalists, will be held inside the courtroom of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
Note that members of the powerful Ampatuan clan are among the 101 people who are on trial for the carnage on Nov. 23, 2009. The principal accused in the case are brothers Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr., Zaldy Ampatuan and Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan.
As someone undergoing “an undeserved trial” for trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the government, De Lima said she understands the importance of publicizing every single detail of the verdict of the case, which dragged on with the defense stalling the procedures.
“We need to remain vigilant as the court proceedings come to a close, 10 years after that gruesome Monday in 2009. The notoriety of this crime is known all over the world, and the world needs to know, in real time, the verdict. Will true and complete justice be served? Or will impunity continue to reign in this country?” she asked.
A victim of political persecution under the vengeful Duterte regime, De Lima was illegally detained since Feb. 24, 2017 based on trumped-up charges that were all based primarily on perjured testimonies of convicted criminals and manufactured evidence.