You are on page 1of 7


3&epublic of tbe
$upreme Qtourt
Please take notice that the Court en bane issued a Resolution
dated OCTOBER 23, 2012 which reads as follows:
"A.M. No. 10-11-5-SC (In re: Petition for Radio and Television Coverage of
the Multiple Murder Cases against Maguindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, et
al.); A.M. No. 10-11-6-SC (Re: Petition for the constitution of the present court
handling the trial of the massacre of 57 persons, including 32 journalists, in
Ampatuan, Maguindanao into a Special Court handling this case alone for the
purpose of achieving genuine speedy trial; and for the setting up of videocam and
monitor outside the court for the journalists to cover and for the people to witness
the "Trial of the Decade" to make it truly public and impartial as commanded by
the Constitution); A.M. No. 10-11-7-SC (Re: Letter of President Benigno S. Aquino
III for the "Live Media Coverage of the Maguindanao Massacre Trial"). - On June
14, 2011, this Court, through Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, promulgated a
(the June 14, 2011 Resolution) partially granting pro hac vice the request for
live broadcast by television and radio of the trial court proceedings of the "Maguindanao
massacre" cases,
subject to specific guidelines fully set forth in said Resolution.
Subsequently, counsels for petitioners Editha Mirandilla Tiamzon (Tiamzon) and
Glenna Legarta (Legarta) filed a Partial Motion for Reconsideration dated June 29,
2011 alleging that "the provisos (1) prohibiting broadcasts on the trial without any voice-
overs, except brief annotations of scenes depicted in the proceeding that may be
necessary to explain them at the start or at the end of the scene; (2) prohibiting the repeat
airing of the audio-visual recording except upon finality of judgment or of brief footage
and still images derived from or cartographic sketches of scenes based on the recording,
and only for news purposes; and (3) requiring continuous broadcast without any
commercial break or any other gap except when the day's proceedings are adjourned, or
during the period of recess called by the trial court and during portions of the proceedings
wherein the public is ordered excluded, all substitute the Court's editorial judgment for
media's own and therefore constitute prior restraint that infringes the constitutional right
to free expression. "
In Re: Petition for Radio and Television Coverage of the Multiple Murder Cases Against
Maguindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, A.M. Nos. 10-11-5-SC, 10-11-6-SC and 10-11-7-SC,
June 14, 2011, 652 SCRA 1.
Trial involving charges for 57 counts of murder and an additional charge of rebellion against 197
accused, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. Q-09-162148-72, Q-09-162216-31, Q-10-162652-66,
and Q-10-163766, commonly entitled People v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., eta/., being heard by
Presiding Judge Jocelyn So lis-Reyes of Branch 221 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon
City inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Rollo (A.M. No. 10-11-5-SC), p. 467; Partial Motion for Reconsideration dated June 29, 2011.
Notice of Resolution - 2- A.M. Nos. 10-11-5-SC
10-11-6-SC & 10-11-7-SC
October 23, 2012
Petitioners Tiamzon and Legarta take issue on provisos (t), (g), and (h) of the
enumerated guidelines in the June 14, 2011 Resolution and allege that these must be
struck down for being unconstitutional, as they constitute prior restraint on free
expression because they dictate what media can and cannot report about the
"Maguindanao massacre" trial. Petitioners Tiamzon and Legarta maintain that the
restriction and penalty sought to be imposed on media produce a "chilling effect" on all
forms of expression about the court proceedings. Petitioners Tiamzon and Legarta also
add that proviso (h) constitutes an undue taking of property rights as it "forces media
outfits to commit practically [a] big chunk of their resources to the coverage of the trial
without any commercial breaks except under allowable situations x x x."
Accused Andal Ampatuan, Jr. (Ampatuan) also filed a Motion for
Reconsideration dated June 27, 2011, alleging that the June 14, 2011 Resolution
"deprives him of his rights to due process, equal protection, presumption of innocence,
and to be shielded from degrading psychological punishment."
Ampatuan contends that this Court should accord more vigilance in safeguarding
his rights as an accused because the immense publicity and adverse public opinion which
live media coverage can produce would affect everyone, including the judge, witnesses
for the accused, and the families and relatives of all concerned parties. Ampatuan states
that this Court should not bend to the clamour of pressure groups, such as media
journalists, but should push for the basic judicial and democratic principles of fair play
and balanced judicial process. Ampatuan asserts that "live media coverage of the trial is
cruel and degrading punishment for the accused even before he is convicted by final
judgment. "
In a Resolution dated July 5, 2011, this Court required Ampatuan to comment on
the Partial Motion for Reconsideration by petitioners Tiamzon and Legarta, and also
required the petitioners to comment on Ampatuan's Motion for Reconsideration.
Ampatuan filed an Opposition dated August 1, 2011, alleging that "petitioners
want to secure conviction by maximizing whatever opportunity mass communications
media will extend to them."
Ampatuan asserts that there is "no content-based
restriction, only responsible joumalism"
with the guidelines provided by this Court when
it mandated that no voice-overs be made during the live telecast of the hearings.
Ampatuan also contends that there was no undue taking of private property as the
coverage is voluntary and only those who are serious enough may avail of the
opportunity to report on the hearings. Ampatuan maintains that "media coverage must
not be allowed as it infringes on his constitutional rights to fai:r trial, presumption of
innocence and to an impartial tribunal x x x."
Petitioners National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), et al.
filed a Motion for Leave of Court to File Comment (to Tiamzon and Legarta's Partial
Motion for Reconsideration) dated August 15, 2011, alleging that while they were not
directed by this Court to comment on their co-petitioners' partial motion for
reconsideration, they deemed it necessary to file a comment in order to clarify some
matters that may affect its resolution.
Id. at 473.
I d. at 489; Motion for Reconsideration dated June 27, 20 ll.
Id. at 501.
Id. at 538; Opposition dated August l, 2011.
Id. at 540.
Id. at 545.
Notice of Resolution - 3 - A.M. Nos. 10-11-5-SC
10-11-6-SC & 10-11-7-SC
October 23, 2012
In their Consolidated Comment (to Tiamzon and Legarta's Partial Motion for
Reconsideration and Ampatuan's Motion for Reconsideration) dated August 15, 2011,
petitioners NUJP, et al. allege that Ampatuan's motion for reconsideration has failed to
present new and convincing arguments that would merit reversal of this Court's ruling in
the June 14, 2011 Resolution.
Petitioners NUJP, et al. declare that they opted not to file a motion for
reconsideration since they recognize the good faith underlying the gestures of this Court,
specifically in providing in paragraph (k) of the guidelines that called for the creation of a
special committee. This, according to petitioners NUJP, et al. shows that this Court is
"giving room for flexibility and experimentation and is aware that the guidelines cannot
possibly anticipate all the problems and concerns that live television coverage of the
Ampatuan trial will encounter."
Moreover, petitioners NUJP, et al. aver that this Court,
through the Court Administrator, has already addressed some of the concerns of the
petitioner-media practitioners through a dialogue on June 22, 2011.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Comment dated August 24,
2011, for President Benigno S. Aquino Ill, alleging that the arguments raised in
Ampatuan's motion for reconsideration are a mere rehash of the issues which have
already been judiciously passed upon by this Court. The OSG maintains that "the
coverage by live media of hearings neither constitutes a barbarous act nor inflicts upon
the accused inhuman physical harm or torture that is shocking to the conscience. The fact
that more than the usual number of court attendees could witness the criminal trial will
not convert the attendance thereto into a degrading and cruel punishment."
avers that Ampatuan failed to adduce any new matter to modify the Resolution of this
Upon reconsideration, and after weighing once more the rights guaranteed by the
Constitution that are involved in this case, this Court partially grants reconsideration of
the June 14, 2011 Resolution. For reasons to be discussed below, this Court is now
disallowing the live media broadcast of the trial of the "Maguindanao massacre" cases
but is still allowing the filming of the proceedings for (1) the real-time transmission to
specified viewing areas, and (2) documentation.
The Court in the June 14, 2011 Resolution recognized "the impossibility of
accommodating even the parties to the cases - the private complainants/families of the
victims and other witnesses - inside the courtroom," as there were 57 victims and 197
accused that were involved, and under strict guidelines, made use of modern technology
"to provide the only solution to break the inherent limitations of the courtroom, to satisfy
the imperative of a transparent, open and public trial."
Upon review of the matter, however, the Court has sought a way to provide a
public trial as required by the Constitution
and the Rules,
which is a right granted to
I d. at 589; Consolidated Comment dated August 15, 2011.
I d. at 621-622; Comment dated August 24, 20 II.
In Re: Petition for Radio and Television Coverage of the Multiple Murder Cases Against
Maguindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, supra note 1 at 13-14.
Article III, Section 4.
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, effective December 1, 2000.
Rule 115, SECTION 1. Rights of accused at the trial.-Jn all criminal prosecutions, the accused
shall be entitled to the following rights:
(h) To have speedy, impartial and public trial. (Emphasis added.)
Notice of Resolution - 4- A.M. Nos. 10-11-5-SC
10-11-6-SC & 10-11-7-SC
October 23, 2012
the accused, without inviting media frenzy that affect the due process rights of the
accused in this high-profile case.
While this Court recognizes the freedom of the press and the right to public
information, which, by the way, are rights that belong to non-direct parties to the case,
the rights of the direct parties should not be forgotten. In a clash among these competing
interests and in terms of the values the Constitution recognizes, jurisprudence makes it
clear that the balance should always be weighed in favor of the accused.
The constitutional rights specific to the accused under Section 14, Article III of
the Constitution such as the right to due process of law,
to be presumed innocent until
the contrary is proved,
and to an impartial and public trial
and the requirement of the
highest quantum of proof
to justify deprivation of his liberty (or even of his life)
provide more than ample justification to take a second look at the view that a camera that
broadcasts the proceedings live on television has no place in a criminal trial because of its
prejudicial effects on the rights of accused individuals.
This Court, in Re: Live TV and Radio Coverage of the Hearing of President
Corazon C. Aquino's Libel Case,
found that the live coverage of judicial proceedings
involve an inherent denial of due process, which we quote:
Experience likewise has established the prejudicial effect of
telecasting on witnesses. Witnesses might be frightened, play to the
camera, or become nervous. They are subject to extraordinary out-of-court
influences which might affect their testimony. Also, t'"eledtsting not only
increases the trial judge's responsibility to avoid actual prejudice to the
defendant, it may as well affect his own performance. Judges are human
beings also and are subject to the same psychological reactions as laymen.
For the defendant, telecasting is a form of mental harassment and subjects
him to excessive public exposure and distracts him from the effective
presentation of his defense.
The television camera is a powerful weapon which intentionally or
inadvertently can destroy an accused and his case in the eyes of the
. 21
pu 1c.
In this case that has achieved notoriety and sensational status, a greater degree of
care is required to safeguard the constitutional rights of the accused. To be in the best
position to weigh the conflicting testimonies of the witnesses, the judge must not be
affected by any outside force or influence. Like any human being, however, a judge is
not immune from the pervasive effects of media.
Re: Request Radio-TV Coverage of the Trial in the Sandiganbayan of the Plunder Cases Against
the Former President Joseph E. Estrada, Perez v. Estrada, 412 Phil. 686, 704-705 (200 1 ).
CONSTITUTION, Art. III, Sec. 14(1).
Id. at Sec. 14(2).
I d.
Proof beyond reasonable doubt. See RULES OF COURT, Rule 134, Section 2.
En Bane Resolution dated October 22, 1991.
ld., citing Estes v. Texas, 381 U.S. 532 (1965).
See Separate Opinion of Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion in Biraogo v. Philippine Truth
Commission of 2010, G.R. Nos. 192935 and 193036, December 7, 2010, 637 SCRA 78, 335 and
Supplemental Opinion of Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion in Lejano v. People, G.R. Nos.
176389 and 176864, December 14,2010, 638 SCRA 104, 197.
Notice ofResolution - 5- A.M. Nos. 10-11-5-SC
10-11-6-SC & 10-11-7-SC
October 23, 2012
So must the witnesses be shielded from the pressure of being aware that their
testimony is broadcasted live over television and radio, to be scrutinized and judged by
the court of public opinion. A witness' behavior and self-consciousness before the
camera in a high-profile case such as this case might compromise the reliability of the
fact-finding process, which in turn could skew the judge's assessment of his or her
credibility, necessarily affecting the resolution of the case.
In a constitutional sense, public trial is not synonymous with publicized trial.
The right to a public trial belongs to the accused. The requirement of a public trial is
satisfied by the opportunity of the members of the public and the press to attend the trial
and to report what they have observed.
The accused's right to a public trial should not
be confused with the freedom of the press and the public's right to know as a justification
for allowing the live broadcast of the trial. The tendency of a high profile case like the
subject case to generate undue publicity with its concomitant undesirable effects weighs
heavily against broadcasting the trial. Moreover, the fact that the accused has legal
remedies after the fact is of no moment, since the damage has been done and may be
irreparable. It must be pointed out that the fundamental ri.ght
to due process of the
accused cannot be afforded after the fact but must be protected at the first instance.
To address the physical impossibility of accommodating the large number of
interested parties inside the courtroom in Camp Bagong Diwa, it is not necessary to allow
the press to broadcast the proceedings here and abroad, but the Court may allow the
opening of closed-circuit viewing areas outside the courtroom where those who may be
so minded can come and watch the proceedings. This out-of-court, real-time viewing
grants to a larger audience the opportunity to monitor the proceedings as if they were
inside the trial court but at the same time obviates the massive publicity entailed in media
broadcasting. This is similar to the procedure adopted by this Court in allowing members
of the public to watch its oral arguments at a viewing area outside of the Session Hall
where a large monitor projects the images and sounds from inside the Session Hall in real
Aside from providing a viewing area outside the courtroom in Camp Bagong
Diwa, closed-circuit viewing areas can also be opened in selected trial courts in
Maguindanao, Koronadal, South Cotabato, and General Santos City where most of the
relatives of the accused and the victims reside, enabling them to watch the trial without
having to come to Camp Bagong Diwa. These viewing areas will, at all times, be under
the control of the trial court judges involved, subject to this Court's supervision.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves to:
1. DENY the Partial Motion for Reconsideration dated June 29, 2011 of
petitioners Editha Mirandilla Tiamzon and Glenna Legarta;
2. PARTIALLY GRANT the Motion for Reconsideration dated June 27,
2011 filed by accused Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and to MODIFY this Court's
Resolution dated June 14, 2011, by disallowing the live media broadcast of
the trial in Criminal Case Nos. Q-09-162148-72, Q-09-162216-31, Q-1 0-
162652-66, and Q-10-163766, subject to the following guidelines on audio-
visual recording and streaming of the video coverage:
Re: Request Radio-TV Coverage of the Trial in the Sandiganbayan of the Plunder Cases Against
the Former President Joseph E. Estrada, Perez v. Estrada, supra note 15 at 715-716.
Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589,610 (U.S. 1978).
Notice ofResolution - 6 - A.M. Nos. 10-11-5-SC
10-11-6-SC & 10-11-7-SC
October 23, 2012
a. An audio-visual recording of the Maguindanao massacre cases may be
made both for documentary purposes and for transmittal to specified
closed-circuit viewing areas: (i) outside the courtroom, within the
Camp Bagong Diwa 's premises; and (ii) selected trial courts in
Maguindanao, Koronadal, South Cotabato, and General Santos City
where the relatives of the accused and the victims reside. Said trial
courts shall be identified by the Office of the Court Administrator.
These viewing areas shall be under the control lf trial court judges
involved, subject to this Court's supervision.
b. The viewing area will be installed to accommodate the public who
want to observe the proceedings within the Camp Bagong Diwa
premises. The streaming of this video coverage within the different
court premises in Mindanao will be installed so that the relatives of the
parties and the interested public can watch the proceedings in real
c. A single fixed compact camera shall be installed inconspicuously
inside the courtroom to provide a single wide-angle full-view of the
sala of the trial court. No panning and zooming shall be allowed to
avoid unduly highlighting or downplaying incidents in the
proceedings. The camera and the necessary equipment shall be
operated and controlled only by a duly designated official or employee
ofthe Supreme Court.
d. The transmittal of the audio-visual recording from inside the
courtroom to the closed-circuit viewing areas shall be conducted in
such a way that the least physical disturbance shall be ensured in
keeping with the dignity and solemnity of the proceedings.
e. The Public Information Office and the Office of the Court
Administrator shall coordinate and assist the trial courts involved on
the physical set-up of the camera and equipment.
f. The original audio-recording shall be deposited in the National
Museum and the Records Management and Archives Office for
preservation and exhibition in accordance with law.
g. The audio-visual recording of the proceedings and its transmittal shall
be made under the control of the trial court which may issue
supplementary directives, as the exigency requires, subject to this
Court's supervision.
h. In all cases, the witnesses should be excluded from watching the
proceedings, whether inside the courtroom or in the designated
viewing areas. The Presiding Judge shall issue the appropriate orders
to insure compliance with this directive and for the imposition of
appropriate sanctions for its violation." Carpio, J., on official leave.
Del Castillo, 1., on leave. Perez, 1., on official leave. (adv98)
Very truly yours,
Attys. Michael J. Mella, Ronalda E. Renta and
Cirilo P. Sabarre (reg)
Counsel for Petitioners
Rm. 305 National Press Club Building
Magallanes Drive, lntramuros, Manila
Secretary Leila M. De Lima (x)
Department of Justice
His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino Ill (reg)
Malacanang Palace San Miguel, Manila
The Solicitor General (x)
ASG Roman G. del Rosario (x)
Associate Solicitor Judy A. Lardizabal (x)
Office of the Solicitor General
134 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village
1229 Makati City
Attys. Romeo T. Capulong, Rachel F. Pastores,
Francis Anthony Principe, Mary Kathryn G. Sison,
Rolando Rico C. Olalia, Amylyn B. Sato, Jose
Christopher Y. Belmonte, Philip D. Sawali and
Rom-Voltaire C. Quizon (reg)
Counsel for Petitioners in A.M. No. 10-11-5-SC
4/F Kaija Bldg., 7836 Makati Ave. cor.
Valdez St.,Makati City
Roque and ButuyanLaw Offices (reg)
Counsel for Editha M. Tiamzon & Glenna Legarta
1904 Antel 2000 Corporate Center
121 Valero St.,1200 Salcedo Village, Makati City
Director Jeremy Barns (reg)
National Museum of the Philippines
Padre Burgos Drive, City of Manila
The Executive Director (reg)
National Archives of the Philippines [formerly Records
Management and Archives Office ]
NPL Building, T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila
Public Information Office (x)
Supreme Court
A.M. No. 10115-SC, A.M. No. 10116-SC and
A.M. No.10117SC
nmr/102312[adv98]103112[SEE RES]
-7- A.M. No. 10-11-5-SC, A.M. No. 10-11-6-SC
and A.M. No. 10-11-7-SC
October 23, 2012
Hon. Jose Midas P. Marquez (x)
Deputy Court Administrators
Hon. Raul B. Villanueva (x)
Hon. Antonio M. Eugenio, Jr. (x)
Assistant Court Administrators
Hon. Thelma C. Bahia (x)
Hon. Jenny Lind R. Aldecoa-Delorino (x)
Supreme Court
Hon. Jocelyn A. Solis-Reyes (x)
Presiding Judge
Regional Trial Court, Branch 221
Quezon City
Attys. Philip Sigfrid A. Fortun & Gregorio Y.
Narvasa (reg)
Fortun Narvasa & Salazar Law Offices
Counsels for Accused Andal Ampatuan, Jr.
23rd Fir., Multinational Bancorporation
No. 6805 Ayala Avenue, 1229 Makati City.
Mr. Jerry Yap (reg)
President, National Press Club of the Philippines
Mr. Benny D. Antiporda (reg)
President, Alyansa ng Pilipinong Mamamayan
Rm. 305 National Press Club Building
Magallanes Drive, lntramuros, Manila
The Presiding Judge (reg)
Regional Trial Court, Branch 78
Quezon City
The Executive Judge (reg)
Regional Trial Court
Cotabato City, Maguindanao
The Executive Judge (reg)
Regional Trial Court, Koronadal City
South Cotabato
The Executive Judge (reg)
Regional Trial Court, General Santos City
South Cotabato
The Regional Director (reg)
National Capital Region Police Office
Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City