Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Issue No. 21 July 8-14, 2001 Quezon City, Philippines
Ban A Mockery of Justice, Groups Say
groups fear that justice will not be served with the recent decision of the
Supreme Court to ban live press coverage of the trial of deposed President
Estrada at the Sandiganbayan (anti-graft court). Letting the public see the
trial, they argue, undermines moves by the defense to manipulate public opinion
in Estrada’s favor and also helps expose errors by the court and the
recent decision of the Supreme Court to ban the live press coverage for the
Sandiganbayan (anti-graft court) trial of deposed President Estrada has
heightened the fears of cause-oriented groups that justice will not be served.
the high court decision affect the outcome of the plunder and other criminal
charges lodged against the discredited leader? This is the question uppermost in
the minds of these groups.
them, the Supreme Court's ruling is tantamount to curtailment of press freedom
and could give defense lawyers enough leeway to manipulate public opinion and
even possibly maneuver the court and the prosecution.
live coverage will help even the odds for truth and justice by undercutting
possible maneuvers of the Estrada camp and its defense lawyers and by exposing
possible errors of the court and the prosecution," Dr. Carol
Pagaduan-Araullo, convenor of the watchdog group Plunder Watch said.
explained that such scenario is very much possible especially under the existing
justice system "that is known to be dominated by the influential and
moneyed sectors of the society."
Concerned Lawyers for Moral and Effective Leadership (Clamor), one of the
complainants in the plunder case, advised the Kapisanan ng mga Brodcasters sa
Pilipinas (KBP) to file a motion for reconsideration to the high tribunal
expressed optimism that with the "very close margin" in the results of
the voting, the high tribunal will eventually reverse its decision.
convenor Dennis Funa noted that the Supreme Court in its ruling gave emphasis on
only two points—the rights of the accused and the rights of the media or
freedom of the press.
Supreme Court forgot the most important aspect of all, which is the right of the
people to pursue with full knowledge and transparency the crimes committed
against them and the entire country," Funa said.
other words, he said, the national interest dictates that the people be fully
informed of what is going on in their complaint against a leader who allegedly
fear of the Supreme Court that the passions and emotions of the people will be
inflamed is highly misplaced and completely misses the cause of People Power
2," the Clamor lawyer said. "The people were inflamed because they saw
on television that a mockery of justice was being committed, that they were
cause of the passions, he continued, was not the television coverage but rather
the mockery of justice that was happening.
a mockery of justice can be committed with live television coverage during the
impeachment trial, what more if there is no television coverage?" Funa
Equal Justice for all Movement (E-Just), an umbrella organization of civil
society and lawyers groups, lamented the decision, saying that the Supreme Court
"does not trust the collective intelligence of the Filipino people."
group said that while Filipinos exercise trust in voting for the highest and
lowest elective positions in the government, vote on constitutional amendments,
and even send young people to war to defend the country, the irony is that the
high court does not trust the people to make their own decision in watching the
live media coverage of the Estrada trials.
the Supreme Court saying that it was a mistake for the Senate to allow the TV
coverage of the impeachment trial which allowed people to see the mockery and
charade of the impeachment trial?" E-Just said in a statement.
from the fisherfolk group Pamalakaya urged the high tribunal to reconsider its
decision "in the name of truth and justice." The decision is a big
disappointment and that it can be tantamount to granting Estrada his salvation,
decision could work in favor of Estrada because his camp can do practically
everything without the vigilant public eye, slip the course and remain fugitive
from justice, " Pamalakaya says.
information officer Gerry Albert-Corpuz said the court's decision denied certain
fundamental rights like the freedom of the press and the public's right to
"The public deserves to witness the full account of the
trial. Why deny the rights of millions and favor a bunch of plunderers,
criminals and raiders of state funds ?" Corpuz asked.
said the live coverage of the trial is crucial to the success of justice and
truth. "The rejection for live coverage is the grandmother of all political
concessions the government has awarded to Estrada and his minions named in the
plunder case at this point, " Corpuz said.
expressed fears that the decision may provide rooms for the Estrada camp to
maneuver and eventually offset the people's decision against the former
press fought and won a big battle for the cause of press freedom during the
Estrada administration," Corpus said. "The rejection of live coverage
by the Supreme Court ignites another grand battle royale for the cause of press