Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To Chief Justice Renato Corona
In support of the petition for the liver media coverage of the Maguindanao Massacre trial
[November 22, 2010]
Hon. Renato C. Corona
Dear Mr. Chief Justice:
As you know, there are citizens and groups who have asked the Supreme Court to lift the ban on media coverage of trials, specifically, to make possible the live media coverage of the Maguindanao Massacre trial. I have stated publicly that I support the petition filed before the Supreme Court for this purpose.
You and I, and the respective independent branches of government we head, are duty-bound to uphold the Constitution and our laws. We are all bound to ensure that justice is done, and her interests served. Furthermore, we need to make people aware of, and convinced that, justice is being done and her interest served. This can be done by making the trial of important and sensational cases such as the Maguindanao Massacre case, public.
Permitting the trial to be broadcast and covered fully by media would be a great consolation to the relatives of the massacre victims and our fellow citizens who might otherwise have no opportunity to see justice taking its proper course. A trial conducted in full public view, with the entire nation and the world allowed to witness the proceedings, sends the message that justice can and will be dispensed without fear or favor and in the full light of day.
The trial will also teach us the important lessons of history. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as Santayana warned. So it will be educational for the rest of the people to find out what actually transpired, the reasons behind the atrocity, and what steps should be done to prevent the same from happening again. The more who participate in this great teaching and corrective experience, the faster and the greater the chances will be, of this tragedy never being repeated again.
It is with these considerations in mind and fully aware of the existing policy of the Court on live coverage, that I have added my voice in support of those who have petitioned the Supreme Court to permit television and radio broadcast of the trial.
It is my earnest hope that the Supreme Court will, within the many considerations that enter into such a historic deliberation, attend to this petition with the dispatch, dispassion and humaneness, such a petition merits.