Live media coverage of Maguindanao massacre promulgation urged

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The Presidential Task Force on Media Security has also formally approached the Supreme Court to demand live media coverage in anticipation of the promulgation or lowering of the court’s verdict in the controversial Maguindanao massacre case.

In the two-page letter of Usec. Joel Egco to Court Administrator Atty. Jose Midas Marquez, dated December 4, 2019, the organization has requested that live media coverage be provided by government communication agencies such as PTV-4, RTVM, Philippine News Agency, and PCOO.

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Egco said the Ampatuan massacre was one of the cases targeted at the Presidential Taskforce on Media Security and that at least 32 of those killed in the November 2009 massacre were all members of the media.

Various media organizations, such as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), have previously filed a petition in the Supreme Court to request an open coverage in a landmark decision on what is considered the worst election-related violence in Philippine history.

QC RTC Branch 221 has already scheduled the promulgation of the case at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

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QC-RTC Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon also sent notice of the promulgation to parties in the case, including relatives of the victims.

Maguindanao massacre promulgation

The Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre after the town where the mass graves were found, occurred on the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.

While the 58 victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and killed. Mangudadatu was challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and member of one of Mindanao’s leading Muslim political clans, in the forthcoming Maguindanao gubernatorial election, part of the national elections in 2010. The people killed included Mangudadatu’s wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the killing. Even before the Maguindanao massacre, the CPJ had labeled the Philippines the second most dangerous country for journalists, second only to Iraq.

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