MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Supreme Court (SC) en banc ruled on Tuesday, December 10, to allow live coverage of the most awaited decision on the Ampatuan massacre which will be held on December 19 inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
"After the en banc session of the SC this morning they granted the request for the live broadcast and coverage of the promulgation of the decision of the case People vs Ampatuan which is pending before Branch 221 of the RTC of QC," SC Spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said in a news conference on Tuesday.
Government channel PTV will do the live broadcast. Three sources said the voting was unanimous.
Live coverage was initially allowed for the trial, but the Supreme Court reversed itself in 2015 and decided there would be no live coverage due to lack of uniform rules, and due to the need to protect the rights of the parties and maintain the dignity of court proceedings.
Media organizations co-signed a petition to the Supreme Court to allow live coverage of the promulgation of judgment, citing logistical concerns of families of the victims who are mostly based in General Santos City, and the need for transparency in what has been called the trial of the decade.
Quezon City Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes will hand down the decision on December 19 inside the courtroom of Camp Bagong Diwa, where two principal suspects are detained – Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr and Zaldy Ampatuan.
Their brother Datu Sajid Islam, also a principal accused, is out on an P11.6 million bail.
As of Tuesday, Zaldy is still confined at the Makati Medical Center according to Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Spokesperson Xavier Solda. Zaldy was confined there after suffering from a stroke.
There are 101 on trial for the massacre of 58 people, 38 of them journalists, who were part of a convoy on November 23, 2009, to cover the filing of candidacy of then-Maguindanao governor aspirant Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu.
It's the single deadliest attack on journalists in the world, and the worst election-related violence in Philippine history. (READ: For Mama: Child of Ampatuan massacre victim chooses journalism too) – Rappler.com