Kiko eyes televised coverage, marathon hearings of Maguindanao massacre trial

by Jason de Asis

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 18, 2010 – Sen. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan has proposed the holding of televised live coverage and marathon hearings of court trials on the infamous Maguindanao massacre to ensure swift justice to the victims.


Pangilinan yesterday filed Senate Resolution 186 expressing the sense of the Senate that the Maguindanao massacre trial should be made public through radio and television broadcast of the court proceedings.


Pangilinan, a lawyer, expressed belief that it would be in the best interest of the judiciary to be transparent in the judicial process, especially in such an unprecedented case of brutality that captured the attention of the international media. He said the Constitution itself recognizes the right of the people to public information on matters of public concern such as the Maguindanao massacre.


Pangilinan said holding hearings twice a week is a step in the right direction, considering numerous complaints over dilatory tactics resorted to by the counsels of the Ampatuans who stand charged of murdering 30 journalists. “If we have the proceedings held twice a week, and if we make that transparent by broadcasting the trial live, then that would facilitate the speedy dispensation of justice because the court knows that the whole world will be watching,” he said.


He said delaying tactics by the defense should not be given due course considering the huge number of witnesses from both the prosecution and the defense.


Pangilinan noted that while the prosecution is presenting 227 witnesses and the defense 373, this has never discouraged the defense from resorting to delaying tactics. “Hindi yata maganda ang tinatakbo ng kaso. Isang taon na ang nakalipas. Namatayan na nga tayo ng isang prosecutor,” he said, referring to Senior State Prosecutor Leo Dacera who died of cardiac arrest last November 4.


He said if the case will proceed at a snail’s pace, then it is the best recipe for justice to be denied the oppressed, as justice delayed is justice denied.


"My fear is that this dark moment in our history will be trivialized as years pass. The government is thus, duty-bound to uphold the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. While the accused is entitled to due process, the victims, their families and more importantly, the public also have the right to be informed of the actual, transparent and impartial court proceedings," he stressed. (Jason de Asis)