The Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings reached fever pitch Monday night.
The hearing began at 9:30 a.m., with Senator Richard Gordon presiding the proceedings. Senator Gordon and company presented the following witnesses that day:
- SPO1 Vivencio Jumawan Jr.
- PO3 Enrique Ayao
- Ret. S. Supt. Dionisio Abude
- SPO3 Arthur Lascañas
All four testified and questioned the validity of star witness Edgar Matobato’s statement. They claimed that they knew Matobato and they also denied the existence of a Davao Death Squad.
However, the highlight of the hearing took place deep into the evening. Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Gordon, Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao learned that star witness Edgar Matobato had left the building even before his scheduled testimony, with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV even telling Matobato to leave for security reasons.
This led to a word war between Senators Gordon and Leila de Lima. The two senators clashed over what Gordon claimed was ‘material concealment’ of information on de Lima’s part over Matobato’s kidnapping case in 2002, and it led to de Lima storming out of the Senate.
In the end, Senator Gordon announced that the hearing on extrajudicial killings will be suspended until further notice. Gordon then called for a caucus of committee members, which may take place today.
At around 12:00 p.m., the following major networks were covering the Senate hearings:
- DZMM TeleRadyo (and DZMM Radyo Patrol 630)
- ABS-CBN News Channel
- CNN Philippines
- GMA News TV
- Super Radyo DZBB 594
- Radyo5 92.3 News FM
Save for TV5’s ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, there was no noontime newscast that day due to the hearings. However, for some unknown reason, AksyonTV and Radyo5 92.3 News FM chose to stop carrying the feed by 12:30 in favor of regular programming, a decision that did not sit well with the Kapatid faithful (the PBA coverage is excused, however).
At around 6:00 p.m. CNN Philippines ended the coverage in favor of ‘Network News’. Thirty minutes later, DZMM and DZBB concluded their coverage in order to carry ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ respectively.
By 6:45 p.m. ANC likewise ended their coverage in favor of regular programming. The network was unable to cover the heated confrontation between Senators de Lima and Gordon, however, and they deferred the coverage to DZMM TeleRadyo instead.
Overall, it was a very busy day for the networks at the Senate. In a hearing that lasts over 13 hours (with a suspension of over an hour), every action needs to be followed, and many of them tried their best to do so.
Now that the hearings are suspended until further notice, it is back to mostly regular programming for the networks. Still, it remains to be seen if the impending continuation of the hearings will be as action-packed as the last one.