By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday allowed media coverage of the trial of detained Sen. Leila de Lima on illegal drug charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) before the Muntinlupa City regional trial court (RTC).
After its full court session led by Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio, the SC allowed reporters to cover the trial proceedings inside the courtroom of RTC Branch 206 presided by Judge Lorna Navarro Domingo.
But the SC said that in covering the proceedings, representatives of media organizations are not allowed to bring recording devices inside the courtroom and they would only be allowed to jot down notes.
This means that the proceedings cannot be aired live from inside the courtroom. Live coverage had also been banned by the SC in the trial of the Maguindanao massacre cases at the Quezon City RTC.
Judge Domingo had earlier barred journalists from covering the proceedings. This prompted an online outfit to elevate the issue before the SC.
The SC approval was recommended by Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez who said that the trial “is a matter of public concern.”
It authorized the RTC clerk of court “to select, for each hearing of the drug cases against Senator De Lima, two to four media institutions to access the courtroom, which may be limited to one reporter from each of such chosen media institutions.”
Also included in the approval are two media organizations covering the justice and court beat – the Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA) and the Justice Reporters Organization (JUROR) – whose members have to be accredited for coverage.
De Lima has been charged with conspiracy to commit drugs trading before RTC Branch 206 as well as in Branch 205, also in Muntinlupa City RTC.