On November 23, we will be commemorating the first year of the most gruesome massacre in recent Philippine history. The Maguindanao massacre, as we now call it, claimed 57 lives--over half (34) of which were of journalists who were there to cover an election-related story.
Just yesterday, DOJ Secretary Laila de Lima was quoted by news reports as saying that the Maguindanao Massacre trial would speed up soon, with twice-a-week trials instead of just weekly trials.
I believe that having the trial twice a week is the right step to take. Furthermore, I believe that it would be in the best interest of our judiciary to have transparency in the judicial process, especially in such an unprecedented case of brutality that captured the attention of the international media. The Constitution recognizes the right of the people to public information on matter of public concern.
If we have it 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.
I have thus filed Senate Resolution No. 186, "expressing the sense of the Senate that the Maguindanao Massacre trial should be made public through radio and television coverage of the court proceedings."
We also would like to caution the courts to not play into the delaying tactics of the defense.
The prosecution has 227 witnesses while the defense has 373. May mga nababalita pang mga delaying tactics. Hindi yata maganda ang tinatakbo ng kaso. Isang taon na ang nakalipas. Namatayan na nga tayo ng isang prosecutor (Senior State Prosecutor Leo Dacera died of a heart attack Nov 4, 2010). Kung gagapang ang kaso ng matagal, e tila 'di natin makakamtan ang tunay na hustisya.
My fear is that this dark moment in our history will be trivialized as years pass. The government is 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.