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Trial and conviction by publicity FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/30/2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trial and conviction by publicity

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Fhilippine media have this penchant for giving the accused a trial and conviction by publicity as media usually take on the role of investigator, judge and jury, making it extremely difficult for the accused who is tried and convicted by media publicity to even get a fair trial.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as well as the Department of Justice (DoJ) officials also aid in this usual media trial and conviction of persons whom they accuse of having committed a crime, as they come up with their theories and suspicions openly, even when they hardly have any strong evidence to back these up.

Some judges, along with public officials, also get into the trial and conviction by publicity act, as most public officials — usually connected with the administration — want the publicity and some judges, wanting either a promotion or are influenced by the media reports’ early conviction of the accused, end up convicting the accused, not bothering to judge the case on its merits.

This has happened before, in the case of Hubert Webb in the Vizconde muder case. The NBI then and the then Justice chief, Frank Drilon, kept up with the publicity of the rape and murder even before Webb was arrested while media tried and convicted Webb even before the trial.

All that the government case had against Webb was the testimony of a drug addict, Jessica Alfaro, whose testimony, incidentally didn’t quite match the physical inspection of the crime scene findings, apart from which, she even failed to recognize the other co-accused in court.... MORE

SourceDaily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101030com2.html


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